Sing the Bible with Slugs & Bugs Volume 3!

Today’s the day!

Today, we release Sing the Bible with Slugs and Bugs VOLUME 3! Woohoo!!!

This our 4th word-for-word Scripture CD and the reviews are starting to pop up. You can read a few of them here…

Story Warren review  

Worship Leader Magazine

CCM review

But… for release day, I thought I’d go through a few of the aspects that make Volume 3 (maybe) my favorite of all the Sing the Bible records.

All of the songs on Volume 3 reflect the life, work, and words of Jesus.

With all of the previous Sing the Bible CDs, I’ve chosen scriptures from the Old and New Testament. Volume 3 focuses on Jesus, so all of the songs are New Testament passages he spoke, or passages about him or his mission on earth. At times working on these songs felt like spending time with Jesus in a more immediate way. I began to imaging the sound of his voice, and to wish I knew Aramaic so I could really imagine what he might have sounded like through his lips and teeth and vocal chords.

Dwelling on Colossians 1 next to the Beatitudes, or stories like the man at the pool of Siloam next to “Let the children come to me,” has helped me grasp aspects of the character of Jesus in a new way, and that’s my hope and prayer for everybody that leans into these songs.

Volume 3 includes a “society of extraordinary” guest appearances. 🙂

Yes, the Society of Extraordinary Raccoon Society has returned, but even more importantly, Volume 3 is filled with wonderful guests who share the load of the lead vocals. This is a great gift to me, since it allows me to hear someone else’s voice singing or speaking Scripture. And more voices reflects more of the Kingdom of God, which is what we’re all praying for in the second line of the Lord’s Prayer.

Aaaaaaand they’re all AWESOME!!! I’ve told Sara Groves how much I love her music so many times I’m sure she’s sick of hearing about it. But seriously, I’m so deeply moved by so many of her songs, and it is such a huge honor to have her appear in the opening song, plumbing the depths of the nature of the fullness of Christ.

PROPAGANDA! I know he’s Jason to some folks, but now he’ll always be Prop to me. I am so grateful for his ridiculous artistic gifts, his devotion to the Gospel, and his willingness to jump into the Slugs & Bugs dance party and straight up throw down. He is at home in hip hop, so his presence broadens what Slugs & Bugs is capable of musically, and his voice is so strong that when married with Scripture, it brings power and conviction to slay me every time. Unless he’s taking about carrots. Then that’s just funny. 🙂

Of course, Mike Weaver can flat out sing. I’ve heard him with Big Daddy Weave on Christian radio as much as any artist I can think of over the past couple of decades. So I knew it would be fun to have him come sing, but that wasn’t even close to the best part. Mike waked into the studio, and within moments I felt so immediately loved with the free, joyful love of Jesus.  His voice is HUGE, but his heart is even bigger.

As a testament to all of that, right now, WJTL in Lancaster, PA is playing I Am The Way in their regular rotation. Thanks Mike! You helped Slugs & Bugs land our first single! 🙂

If you’re one of the millions of people that have seen the I Can Only Imagine movie recently, you know who Bart Millard is. As the lead singer of MercyMe, Bart penned the best selling Christian song of all time. But at first listen, you may not know that he appears on Sing the Bible Volume 3 as B.A.R.T. – or, the Bethlehem Assembly of the Risen Tabernacle. Singing all the parts  for our a cappella song “Not By Bread Alone,” Bart was absolutely spectacular in the studio. He sang like a warrior angel, and his joyful, playful spirit was contagious and probably integral to capturing the song the way he did. I’ll probably never sing it live, but I’ll be forever grateful that so many thousands of kids (and parents) will get to sing along with Bart – that sweet truth that came from the mouth of Our Lord.

What an absolute blessing it is to be able to count Sally Lloyd-Jones among my friends. As a children’s book author, there’s no one I look up to more for her dogged devotion to crafting language that children will listen to and really love. Thankfully, as it turns out, she’s also a hoot! Sally has returned to the Sing the Bible series to investigate all the do-gooding and secretive gift-giving going on around the S.O.E.R.S. – a not-very secretive secret society of raccoons. She also holds my ears (and my heart) captive at the end of the record as she reads the text from “The Great Commission.”

And there are others… my old friend Andrew Peterson reprises his role as Chauncey the Raccoon. Even at just 10 years old Sadie Osenga owns one of my favorite moments on the record with her beautiful rendition of “Let The Children Come To Me.” Nashville treasures Jason Eskridge and Nickie Conley sing much of the choir parts on Volume 3, which feels like an embarrassment of riches. Nickie is featured in “Living Water” where her performance brings to life the words of the woman at the well (from John 4).

So many inspiring voices! I’m grateful for them all, and I can’t wait for you to hear them. Here’s how to purchase the music! (FYI – Our Sing the Bible series is not available on streaming services.)

  1. On our website! Visit slugsandbugs.com to purchase a download or a physical CD. For a limited time we have a couple of bundle deals as well. (Sing the Bible bundle makes a great gift!)
  2. At iTunes! If you’re an iTunes person, you’re in luck. It’s there today!
  3. Amazon. All of our CDs are available on amazon, with Volume 3 available today!

Randall Goodgame is the founder of Slugs & Bugs Family Music. The newest Slugs & Bugs album, Sing the Bible with Slugs & Bugs, Volume 3 released on April 27, 2018. Both Sing the Bible with Slugs & Bugs Volume 1 and Sing the Bible with Slugs & Bugs Volume 2 were nominated for Children’s Album of the Year at the 2015 and 2017 Dove Awards.

Sing The Bible Family Christmas (coming October 20th!)

I learned to play “Linus and Lucy” by Vince Guaraldi when I was 14 years old. The music from The Charlie Brown Christmas Special has always existed in my memory, and the story (by Charles Schulz) continues to profoundly influence the way I write for families.

Through the excellence of his craft, his honest characters, and his keen sense of the brokenness of humanity, (informed by his understanding of the Gospel), Schulz impacted all ages through Peanuts. For 50 years of Decembers, families have snuggled up to watch the lights dim and the spotlight settle on Linus Van Pelt, alone on the stage. When the music stops, and he quotes Luke 2 (from memory, I might add), I always cry. In the midst of a terrible Christmas play, the Gospel shows up to save the day.

That’s one reason why the music from the program has endured. The sweet, life transforming truth of the Gospel is proclaimed, and it makes all the difference. I associate that piano music with the simple power of the truth proclaimed – from the mouth of a child, no less.

So, when I began writing Scripture songs for a Christmas CD last year, it was no surprise that my hands fell into the style I started learning so many years ago. (To this day, I play “Linus and Lucy” in the wrong key because I learned it from a cassette tape player that ran a little slow.)

My whole family participated in the recording, along with cousins, friends and neighbors from around Nashville. I wanted the songs to feel like Christmas tree-decorating music, so that while we unpack the ornaments, we can sing along with the very words of Scripture that celebrate the reason for the season: the King of the Universe, born as a baby, come to “save his people from their sins.”

Sing the Bible Family Christmas releases October 20 at   –   www.slugsandbugs.com

A note about the artwork: I am so grateful to Matt Cosby, our illustrator/animator (Old Testament, Ten Commandments, Ninja). The music was inspired by the Vince Guaraldi trio from the Peanuts Christmas Special, so Matt’s artwork reflects the work of Charles Schulz, creator of Peanuts. He did a great job “tipping the cap” to Schulz while also retaining the joyful whimsy of Slugs & Bugs. Follow matt_cosby on Instagram!

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!

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

The Slugs & Bugs App!

After years of development and many months of testing, Slugs & Bugs has an app!

At first, I just wanted a safe place for kids to (digitally) watch Slugs & Bugs videos.  However, I soon realized a word-jumble memory game could provide another fun way for parents and kids to engage with Scripture. Our brilliant designer, Chris Dainty (from Canada), brought the vision to life with such bright simplicity – I can’t wait for all Slugs & Bugs fans to try it. It is currently limited to apple products (iPhone/iPad) but we are hoping to develop an Android version in 2017. (Watch the video for a glimpse inside the app!)

Featuring:

The Family Game, (free – ages 5 and up) unscramble Bible verses (1-4 players or teams)
Slugs & Bugs Videos: watch exclusive app-only (ad-free) .
Bible Flash Cards to help you learn the Bible and sharpen your skills for our board game
Memory Matching Game featuring S&B characters
• Upcoming tour dates
• News and encouraging parenting posts from the Slugs and Bugs blog.
* In-app purchase unlocks 100 more verses, many more videos, and a second game board!

Click here to find it in the iTunes app store!


(12.5.16) – Don’t miss the big STOCKING STUFFER sale going on right now at slugsandbugs.com.  

Stocking stuffers ON SALE: Slugs & Bugs Christmas, the Slugs & Bugs Ornament, Sing the Bible Volume 2, and so much more!

New S&B Christmas Song (Isaiah 9:6)

unto-us-peanutsHere’s another new Christmas Scripture song with music inspired by Vince Guaraldi’s Peanuts Christmas music. I usually use the ESV, but for this song I reached back into the King James version so I could sing the words, “unto us.” I also borrowed a word from the NLT which says, “rest upon his shoulder.”

One of the most challenging things about writing in 5/4 time is keeping the melody naturally singable. Hopefully you can sing along at home without much trouble.

For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall rest upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)

Be on the lookout for the third “Sing the Bible” CD from Slugs & Bugs in 2017!


And BRAND NEW from Slugs & Bugs: The Slugs & Bugs APP!  Play Scripture memory games, watch Slugs & Bugs videos and so much more. Click Here to find it!

Shaping the Culture of Your Home

RadnorPic
The Goodgame family at Radnor Lake in Nashville, TN.

As a parent, every day you make decisions that shape your family culture. You decide how to respond to behavior, you choose groceries, you drive to team practice or ballet or piano lessons, you make decisions about movies and TV shows and internet usage… about school and friends and church and family vacations… and you decide what music plays in the car.

 

Following the release of the two Slugs & Bugs Sing the Bible CDs (15% off SALE this week), we’ve received countless emails from families who listen to Sing the Bible together in the home and the car, and over time these emails have revealed a common theme. Again and again, we hear how these Scripture songs are helping to powerfully shape the culture and personality of homes around the world, as the joy and truth and hope of the gospel settles into the hearts and minds of the entire family.

Recently, at a concert in Virginia, I met Celeste Ainsworth, mother of three, and her husband John. Over dinner, she so powerfully articulated the impact of Sing the Bible on her family, that I asked her to record her story. You can see it for yourself in the video below.

I am so grateful for Celeste and her family, and for all of the families that share their stories about how Slugs & Bugs is impacting them and their children. These stories help me press on, and fill me with gratitude and joy.  Praise God from whom all blessings flow.

Right now (through Wednesday, Sept. 9) we’re having a 15% off SALE on the Sing the Bible Bundle (in celebration of our second consecutive Dove Award Nomination (Children’s Album of the Year)).

You can buy them for your family right now: (click here)


Randall Goodgame is a husband and father of 3, and the founder of Slugs & Bugs Family Music.