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Category: site news

Brotha Dre (feat. Kingdom Chelzz) Releases Holy Hip Hop/Street Gospel Anthem titled: Chosen

 

November 9, 2018 - Atlanta/Nashville - Powerful Street Minister of The Gospel ("Brotha Dre"), powered by 3HMobile, Capitol Christian Music Group (CCMG), a division of Capitol Music Group and wholly-owned subsidiary of Universal Music Group, released today a hot new Holy Hip Hop/Street Gospel Anthem track titled: Chosen, with the catchy hook 'What It's Like To Be Chosen'.  This song is a must have for any music collection and can be related to by anyone who has experienced and truly felt the Power of GOD work in their life.

 

Brotha Dre Music Releases Powered by CCMG and 3HMobile (to access, on your favorite listening device, please click/copy/paste music links listed below):

 1.  Chosen By Brotha Dre (feat. Kingdom Chelzz) (Available Digital Stores Now Worldwide at):

https://amen-gospel.lnk.to/iGm4JWE  

2.  Black Sheep by Brotha Dre (Available Digital Stores Now Worldwide at):

https://amen-gospel.lnk.to/GPvgaWE

 

About 3HMobile: 3HMobile specializes in inspirational social media, music and entertainment, leveraging a proprietary digital member subscriber network of aficionados of street ministry, radio and internet platforms, growing virally (via word-of-mouth) at a rapid rate  For more information on rising independent Ministers of the Gospel visit: http://www.3HMobile.com

 

About Capitol Christian Music Group Capitol Christian Music Group (CCMG) is the world's leading Christian Music company and market leader in recorded music and music publishing. Capitol Christian Music Group operates several divisions, including CCMG Label Group (Sparrow Records, ForeFront Records, sixstepsrecords, Hillsong, Jesus Culture), Motown Gospel and CCMG Publishing (including Brentwood-Benson Music Publications). CCMG owned labels are home to artists Chris Tomlin, Amy Grant, TobyMac, Tasha Cobbs, Jeremy Camp, Hillsong United, Matt Redman, Mandisa, Tye Tribbett, Crowder, Passion Band, Karl Jobe and many others. Capitol CMG Publishing, in addition to publishing most of the CCMG labels' premier artist/writers, represents many of the leading writers in Christian/Gospel including Ben Glover, David Garcia, Kirk Franklin, Mark Hall, Brenton Brown and many more. Key Distribution partners include The Gaither Music Group, Centricity Records, Marantha Music, InPop Records, Worthy Book Publishing and Cinedigm Entertainment. Led by Chairman & CEO Peter York and a strong executive team of long-time Christian and Gospel music veterans, Capitol Christian Music Group is characterized by a passionate commitment to their artists, songwriters, customers, business partners, and one another, as well as a strong spirit of community service.  CCMG is a division of Capitol Music Group (CMG), led by Chairman and CEO Steve Barnett, which is a wholly owned division within Universal Music Group (UMG), the global music leader with strong market positions in recorded music, music publishing, and merchandising.

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October 24, 2018 - Atlanta/Nashville - Powerful Street Minister of The Gospel ("Brotha Dre"), powered by 3HMobile, Capitol Christian Music Group (CCMG), a division of Capitol Music Group and wholly-owned subsidiary of Universal Music Group, continues to gain momentum in 2018 with a pipeline of Hit Music Releases, with more on the way.

Brotha Dre Music Releases Powered by CCMG and 3HMobile (to access, on your favorite listening device, please click/copy/paste music links listed below):

1. Losing My Mind (Available Digital Stores Worldwide at):

https://amen-gospel.lnk.to/NgDOGWE

2. God vs Man (Available Digital Stores Worldwide at):

https://amen-gospel.lnk.to/GWulgWE

3. L4DK (Available Digital Stores Worldwide at) :

https://amen-gospel.lnk.to/qh8X6WE

4. Pray (Available Digital Stores Worldwide at):

https://amen-gospel.lnk.to/3MheSWE

5. Worthy (Available Digital Stores Worldwide at):

https://amen-gospel.lnk.to/VZ-BNWE

6. Whippin (Available Digital Stores Worldwide at):

https://amen-gospel.lnk.to/NaFFeWE

Upcoming Music Releases by Brotha Dre:
1. Chosen – Scheduled for 11/9

2. Black Sheep – Scheduled for 11/9

About 3HMobile: 3HMobile specializes in inspirational social media, music and entertainment, leveraging a proprietary digital member subscriber network of aficionados of street ministry, radio and internet platforms, growing virally (via word-of-mouth) at a rapid rate For more information on rising independent Ministers of the Gospel visit: http://www.3HMobile.com

About Capitol Christian Music Group Capitol Christian Music Group (CCMG) is the world's leading Christian Music company and market leader in recorded music and music publishing. Capitol Christian Music Group operates several divisions, including CCMG Label Group (Sparrow Records, ForeFront Records, sixstepsrecords, Hillsong, Jesus Culture), Motown Gospel and CCMG Publishing (including Brentwood-Benson Music Publications). CCMG owned labels are home to artists Chris Tomlin, Amy Grant, TobyMac, Tasha Cobbs, Jeremy Camp, Hillsong United, Matt Redman, Mandisa, Tye Tribbett, Crowder, Passion Band, Karl Jobe and many others. Capitol CMG Publishing, in addition to publishing most of the CCMG labels' premier artist/writers, represents many of the leading writers in Christian/Gospel including Ben Glover, David Garcia, Kirk Franklin, Mark Hall, Brenton Brown and many more. Key Distribution partners include The Gaither Music Group, Centricity Records, Marantha Music, InPop Records, Worthy Book Publishing and Cinedigm Entertainment. Led by Chairman & CEO Peter York and a strong executive team of long-time Christian and Gospel music veterans, Capitol Christian Music Group is characterized by a passionate commitment to their artists, songwriters, customers, business partners, and one another, as well as a strong spirit of community service. CCMG is a division of Capitol Music Group (CMG), led by Chairman and CEO Steve Barnett, which is a wholly owned division within Universal Music Group (UMG), the global music leader with strong market positions in recorded music, music publishing, and merchandising.

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Apple CEO Tim Cook warns your data is 'being weaponized' against you



By Brittany De Lea Published October 24, 2018TechnologyFOXBusiness





Apple CEO Tim Cook is calling for the U.S. and countries around the world to enhance their privacy protections for consumers, warning that failing to do so could prove destructive.

“Today [the private information] trade has exploded into a data industrial complex. Our own information, from the everyday to the deeply personal, is being weaponized against us with military efficiency,” Cook said at a conference in Brussels on data privacy Wednesday.

While lauding countries such as those in the European Union for implementing stricter privacy regulation throughout recent years – including the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) – Cook specifically called out the U.S. for not doing enough. He said Apple supports the implementation of comprehensive federal privacy laws across the globe that minimize data collection, let users know what data is being collected, allow users to access that data and keep all of their information secure.

Cook went on to say that opposing privacy regulation “isn’t just wrong, it is destructive.”

As companies collect more and more data, he warns, businesses may have a fuller profile of an individual than the individual even has of herself.

“We shouldn’t sugarcoat the consequences. This is surveillance,” he said. “This should make us very uncomfortable. It should unsettle us.”

This year, technology companies have come under scrutiny for failing to safeguard users. Earlier this year, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey were called to testify on Capitol Hill regarding ways they planned to secure their platforms against rogue actors attempting to unduly influence users – particularly ahead of the midterm elections. It was revealed that a collection of Russian hackers gained access to Facebook’s platforms in an attempt to interfere in the U.S. presidential election.

Further, more than 80 million Facebook users were notified earlier this year that their data was wrongly accessed by Cambridge Analytica.

While Cook did not mention any of his Silicon Valley rivals by name, he noted many in the tech world would say stricter privacy regulation would prevent businesses from reaching their true potential.

In California, lawmakers are looking to advance data regulations similar to the GDPR in the European Union by 2020. The GDPR is an effort to transfer more control over personal data, like addresses and phone numbers, from large companies back to individuals, affecting how companies obtain, use, store and secure data.

Executives from Google and Facebook were set to address the same conference in Brussels later on Wednesday. When contacted by FOX Business, Google pointed to a blog post on privacy published last month.

Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Erin Egan said at the conference she would also support legislation similar to the GDPR, as reported by The FInancial Times. A spokesperson for the company reiterated Egan's sentiments that she supports "strong and effective privacy legislation."


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Aretha Franklin’s gospel classic—and the still-unreleased documentary about it—are a skeleton key to our connection to her





“She can sing anything. ‘Three Blind Mice.’ Anything.”


The King of Gospel Music, Reverend James Cleveland, was riffing, the way only a preacher can, prepping the congregation for the Queen of Soul, Ms. Aretha Franklin. This was January 13, 1972, in the New Temple Missionary Baptist Church in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. And while everyone in the room was familiar with Aretha Franklin, Reverend Cleveland knew that not everyone had heard her sing gospel or witnessed her sing in a church. “You’re in tonight for a great thrill,” Cleveland said to the first-timers.


The house was packed because Aretha was not only recording the album that would become Amazing Grace, the highest-selling album of her career and the highest-selling live gospel album of all time, but it was also being filmed by director Sydney Pollack, for what is a still-unreleased concert documentary.

Mick Jagger was there. Gospel legend Clara Ward was there. So was Reverend Cleveland’s choir, the Southern California Community Choir. And after Cleveland sang one number with his choir, Aretha, in her flowy gown and perfect revolutionary afro, entered the chapel.

On that night, and the night that followed, Aretha Franklin gave what may be the greatest sustained vocal performance, ever.

At this point in her career, Aretha was already a legend. A year before Amazing Grace, she’d released a greatest-hits album and won her fourth of eight consecutive Grammys for Best Female R&B Vocal Performance. One could argue that while she had a great deal more to achieve, she didn’t have much more to prove. And maybe to an average superstar this would be true, but we’re talking Aretha Franklin, lest we forget. And on those two days, she reminded everyone that while she may have had contemporaries, she had no peers. Sure, Aretha was not the first to grow up in the church and take a booming voice to the mainstream, gaining worldwide fame from secular music. But on these two days, she came back to the black church. And it wasn’t just a sweet reminder that she hadn’t lost a step. She was here for her playground respect, ready to send a warning shot to any that had doubted her—she had gotten stronger.

Amazing Grace is Aretha, at her most raw and stripped down, resulting in Aretha at her most powerful.

“I never left the church; the church goes with me,” Aretha said, in one of the few public clips from the unreleased documentary. She said that, after two minutes of footage of Aretha, singing “Amazing Grace.”

The full version of the song on the 1972 album recording is more than 10 minutes long. And for more than 10 minutes, she takes you through a roller-coaster of human emotion. She makes you cry, she makes you smile, she makes you want to jump up and holler at her, as she hollers at God. In moments when it sounds as though the spirit has fully taken over, she’s somehow vocally more in control of every note than she typically is. She’s not just hitting runs, she’s picking notes out of thin air and attacking them with the precision of a sniper. The room’s call-and-response is at the album’s height during this song, emotional and spiritual kindling to the fire that is her instrument.

Plenty of great songs and timeless performers give you chills. This, however, is something else. It’s more than in your bones; it’s cellular.

And this is just one song. Regardless of each musical number’s original meaning, for these two days Aretha made every word, note, and breath sound sanctified. The first two songs she sang on the first day were “Wholy Holy,” a Marvin Gaye song from What’s Going On and “You’ll Never Walk Alone,” originally a Rodgers and Hammerstein show tune from Carousel. Later, with the help of the choir, she started singing the gospel standard “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” and then blended it into “You’ve Got a Friend.”

Carole King wasn’t talking about Jesus. But Aretha was. And just like that, “You’ve Got a Friend” was a gospel song. Throughout Amazing Grace she vacillated between hymns, mid-tempo numbers like “Climbing Higher Mountains,” a quasi-sermon on “Mary, Don’t You Weep,” and up-tempo numbers like “Old Landmark” and “How I Got Over” that caused dancing to spill out from the pews and into the aisles.

Technically, Amazing Grace is art at its highest form, the work of a bona fide musical genius at her peak. And for me, somehow, that’s not even its most impressive (or important) attribute. For as long as I can remember hearing these songs—the album, a lifelong soundtrack to growing up around the black Baptist church—there’s been a moment, on each song, that Aretha does something that makes me believe in God.

More than any sermon, any text, or any life moment, it’s Aretha that keeps me a believer, in something. On Amazing Grace, the belief that Aretha exudes about her God is all the convincing I need that she’s right. And it’s not any specific word or phrase she says; it’s that she feels so much—it makes you want to go through it with her, and feel that, too.

Over the years, it was her voice on this album that provided a light. That assurance you need in your life, that things will eventually be OK. When people in my life passed away, the first thing I would do is turn on Amazing Grace. When dark moments of depression would take over, the light feeling extinguished, the first thing I’d do is turn on Amazing Grace. And when I’d come out on the other side, I’d go back to Aretha and turn it back on. Aretha and I, we were a team.

I never considered what I’d listen to should Aretha die. But even today, amidst all the sadness of her passing, it’s Aretha who is still there for me, reminding me that this, too, shall pass, that I’ll never walk alone, and that I’ll always have a friend.

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TOP GOSPEL ALBUMS



The week of











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2

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49

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Heart. Passion. Pursuit




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2





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Shana Wilson Williams Everlasting Billboard Top Gospel Albums



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Shana Wilson Williams









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Maurice Yancey & One Accord Sentiments Of My Heart Billboard Top Gospel Albums



Sentiments Of My Heart

Maurice Yancey & One Accord










23

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2

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Various Artists WOW Gospel 2018 Billboard Top Gospel Albums



WOW Gospel 2018











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Marvin Sapp Playlist: The Very Best Of Marvin Sapp Billboard Top Gospel Albums



Playlist: The Very Best Of Marvin Sapp











5

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Fred Hammond Best Of Fred Hammond Billboard Top Gospel Albums



Best Of Fred Hammond











8

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Tasha Cobbs Grace (EP) Billboard Top Gospel Albums



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12

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Tasha Cobbs One Place: Live Billboard Top Gospel Albums



One Place: Live











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Todd Dulaney Your Great Name Billboard Top Gospel Albums



Your Great Name











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Snoop Dogg & Various Artists Snoop Dogg Presents: Bible Of Love Billboard Top Gospel Albums



Snoop Dogg Presents: Bible Of Love

Snoop Dogg & Various Artists










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Tamela Mann Best Days Billboard Top Gospel Albums



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Anthony Brown & group therAPy A Long Way From Sunday Billboard Top Gospel Albums



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Maranda Curtis Open Heaven: The Maranda Experience Billboard Top Gospel Albums



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Tradition is losing out as different expressions of praise and worship overtake traditional gospel music and choirs

By Andre Kimo Stone Guess

 

Right now, the 51st Annual Convention of the Gospel Music Workshop of America is being held in Atlanta. The hot topic? The state of gospel music. A cross section of people from the gospel community — including pastors, ministers of music, artists and church musicians — will try to get a sense of the impact of gospel music on today’s culture from three perspectives: the music, the message and the musicians.

Looking at the balance of tradition versus innovation in the styles of recorded gospel music and music performed in church has led them to ask whether the underlying message of gospel has changed, and what is the impact of that on the culture.

Tradition vs. innovation

There has been a historic tension in the black church between the music and the musicians who it birthed. At different points in time, musicians were ostracized from the church for playing new styles of music that were deemed inappropriate. Often, these musicians picked themselves up from the proverbial curb of the church from which they were just kicked and took those new styles into the secular world.

Over time, these innovations were eventually accepted and invited back into the church, creating a pathway between the church and the secular music world and popular culture.

Steven Ford, a Grammy, Dove and Stellar award-winning musician, composer, arranger and producer, has worked with a who’s who list of gospel artists and has contributed to nearly 100 recording projects. During his tenure in the gospel industry, he has seen constant change.

“Gospel music is ever-changing. It’s always evolving. What I heard 10 years ago is different in the church now, but it’s still called gospel music. You can’t put it in a box,” he said.

In the continuum of gospel music that starts with the Negro spiritual and goes through a lineage that includes Thomas Dorsey, Roberta Martin, James Cleveland, Andrae Crouch, Edwin Hawkins and Kirk Franklin, is there a tradition of sound that needs to be codified and preserved for future generations or should the innovation just be allowed to move forward without any regard for a tradition?

Grammy and Stellar award-winning producer and artist Donald Lawrence sees himself as a part of a proud tradition of an unbroken line of gospel musicians who came before him while also finding inspiration from outside of gospel.

“From traditional to contemporary, you still could hear elements [of a tradition]. From contemporary to urban, you still could hear elements of where it came from,” he said. “I was inspired by [Andrae] Crouch and [Edwin] Hawkins. Crouch was inspired by [James] Cleveland and Hawkins was inspired by The Caravans, and they were inspired by people before them. And also, Hawkins was inspired by pop writers, and the same with me. I was inspired my musical theater writers and [also] by Luther [Vandross]. But when you start going a little more like rock-driven, it kind of erases that.”

The rock-driven aspect of gospel music that Lawrence is referring to is not rock ’n’ roll per se. What he is speaking of is the underlying chord structure that is contained in much of today’s gospel, particularly music from the praise and worship movement. The harmonies come out of chords that are rock-based, as opposed to the traditional blues-infused gospel tradition.

Praise and worship movement

Judith McAllister is often referred to as “The First Lady of Praise and Worship.” She has served for more than 17 years as worship leader at the West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles under the leadership of Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr. She is the church’s executive director of the music and worship department and in 2009 was appointed to the office of minister of music/president of the international music department.

Under the leadership of Blake, McAllister, along with Patrick Peterson, began the praise and worship movement at West Angeles in the late 1980s.

“At that time, we as African-Americans were not singing that type of music in our churches,” she said. “We were singing more of the spiritual and devotional songs and we needed to be ‘zapped’ by the spirit to dance, to lift our hands or to rejoice. But this [movement] was now more of an at-will or I will, as the Scripture says, kind of worship.”

The praise and worship movement has spread like wildfire throughout the black church over the past 30 years. One of the unintended consequences of the movement was a decline in traditional choirs in some churches in favor of smaller praise and worship teams.

Decline in choirs

Grammy, Dove and Stellar Award-winning composer, arranger and artist Richard Smallwood laments the decline of the traditional gospel choir in today’s gospel music. Smallwood sees the increase of smaller praise and worship teams as a more efficient and less cumbersome music ministry option for many churches.

“It’s easier to work with the smaller praise team configurations than it is to work with a choir, and much of the music that those type of ensembles are singing are a lot easier to teach and learn for the singers,” he said. “Working with a choir and teaching them the intricacies of the music is harder, but it is also more rewarding.”

Alyn E. Waller, senior pastor of the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in Philadelphia, is a trained musician who aspired to become a professional musician before heeding the call to ministry. The Stellar Award nominee regularly ministers through song with the Enon Tabernacle Mass Choir and as a soloist. He contrasts the music of a traditional gospel choir to that of smaller contemporary gospel groups of today.

“We’ve become almost monolithic in our expression musically,” Waller said. “Sometimes when you hear a traditional gospel choir from a black university come and do a concert where the first half is spirituals and the second half is contemporary gospel, you can hear how dumbed down the music has become, from four- or five-part harmonies to three or even a single line. The imagery that’s painted with the words is not as beautiful as it was, and the ties to Scripture [are not as strong]. There are some very famous songs now that are theologically horrendous.”

Innovation leads to imitation

Looking back over the past 30 years since the beginning of the praise and worship movement, McAllister senses another change coming in gospel music. “As it was then [in the late ’80s], so it is now. I think we have reached an impasse because everyone is doing the same thing,” she said. “I think there is coming a new sound, a new technique that everyone will now gravitate to. Everything is really starting to sound the same.”

Like McAllister and Waller, Lawrence also senses a similar stagnation in the music.

“To me, gospel music today has become a little monolithic; a lot of it is the same. This is the first time I have really seen this,” he said. “Gospel has always been about a diversity of brands or sounds. It’s never been one message, one sound. It was always one message with multiple sounds. Commerce has pushed a lot of the newer artists to be one message, one sound.”

This phenomenon isn’t unique to gospel music. James Poyser, a member of the hip-hop band The Roots, sees a similar trend in music in general. Poyser, a pastor’s kid, got his start playing in church and took that experience and branched out. He is now a fixture on the hip-hop and rhythm and blues scene. “Everything is becoming homogenized,” he said. “Everything is starting to sound the same. Everybody has the same [computer music] programs and are using the same sounds. They all communicate with each other, and because of the internet, everything is readily available. Gospel music is just following the trend of popular music.”

Diversity of music worship

While recorded gospel music may be facing a challenge of diversity of sound, some pastors are embracing the entire continuum of the black music tradition to reach their congregations.

Todd Townsend has been pastoring at the Resurrection Center in Wilmington, Delaware, for nearly 20 years. The church will celebrate its 126th anniversary this year. Townsend has a doctorate in family therapy and doctorate of education in educational leadership, and a few years ago he added a gospel rap album to his résumé.

“I always loved music, all forms of music. Poetry has always been important to me, but I never really thought to put the two together,” he said.

One day his minister of music asked him to sing a song. Because he doesn’t really sing, he reluctantly agreed, if the minister of music would agree to coach him. He actually never sang that song, but it led him to do some writing and put some poetry to beats. His musicians liked what he came up with and invited him into the studio, and seven months later he had his first album and a whole new set of passions.

This passion has opened up new doors and has made his church relevant to a whole new generation of worshippers.

“We keep all variables available because every generation is relevant. From our oldest elder who wants the hymns like Precious Lord, we have that. We have cafes where we will have a jazz vibe. And then for the young people who have an appetite for hip-hop, we also have that,” he said. “Our responsibility as an institution is our loyalty to the gospel message. We create those options for people. It’s a lot of fun and innovative, but it’s also risky. I received some critical feedback from rapping. After the first album came out, I had people tell me, ‘You got 20 years of experience and faithful service. You’re a solid preacher. Why do you want to throw all that away?’

“I processed that and decided to weather the storm. As I continued on the road and grew as an artist and my material got better, they saw that I am still the same guy that I always was. The critics began to turn, and now they say don’t stop. As a matter of fact, they say, why don’t you come to my church.”

One message, many sounds

While the styles of gospel music have evolved over the years, the thing that truly distinguishes it from other genres is the message.

Regardless of the style of music, most everyone agrees that in order for it to truly be considered gospel music, the message has to be clear, consistent and Christ-centered.

As a musician and a pastor, Waller understands the power of the message in gospel music.

“Gospel music has always helped us to be prophetic, meaning to critique the present ideology, speak truth to power and, where power has no clue, offer a more imaginable social future — which is hope,” he said. “Whether it has beats to it or no beats, the essence of gospel music is the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

In some instances, commercial forces have conspired to compromise the message of gospel music. In an effort to gain a wider audience, some artists have decided not only to go for a more homogenized sound but also to water down the message, making it unclear whether the song is truly about God.

Ford has seen this phenomenon at work firsthand.

“The gospel music industry has changed in order to promote sales. Will the artist be willing to make changes for sales?” he asked. “In other words, I’m going to change you from your style and your message to the current thing that is selling. If you do that, then to me, you’re selling out. You’re changing for the consumer. If you’re going to be true to gospel music and what is being sung in church on Sunday morning, then that message can’t change. That’s why we have people today saying, ‘I’m a little confused. Is that gospel or is that something else?’ ”

Even with the right words, the true impact of the music may be lost if there is a disconnect between the words of the song and the life being lived by the artist.

“Many have departed from the true tenets of what gospel music is. Gospel is the good news. To live what the good news says has been something that in my estimation has become increasingly scarce,” said McAllister. “If those who are playing, singing and ministering the music don’t have the power that makes the music come alive, then you will have wonderful ear candy but no impact on a generation.”

Musicians: the salt and the light

Jazz and R&B saxophonist Kirk Whalum has spent most of his career playing secular music. He’s played and toured with the likes of Whitney Houston and Vandross, but like many black musicians in popular music, he grew up playing in the church. His son plays bass for Kelly Clarkson, and his nephew plays saxophone with many R&B and pop artists, including D’Angelo and Beyoncé.

Whalum estimates that up to 90 percent of the black musicians playing secular music today came out of the church, and for the younger generations of church musicians like his son and nephew, he offers some sage advice.

“I challenge some of these kids who come out of the church to serve God out in the mainstream industry, but kind of be stealth [about it],” he said. “You don’t have to come straight out and say that I’m a Christian. All you are really called to do is to live a life for Christ that draws people to the cross and at the very least to cause people to be curious about you and wonder what it is about you that makes you tick.”

McAllister has a cadre of supremely talented musicians in her employ at West Angeles who perform with the latest sensations of pop, R&B and hip-hop. She has set a high bar of expectation for her musicians and church musicians in general.

“Church musicians have an obligation when they go out into the world to be salt and light,” she said. “Salt does not become effective until it gets into an area of decay, and light does not become effective unless it goes into darkness. I have no problem with collaborations [with secular artists] as long as you can go in and change the environment and not allow the environment to change you.”

Rev. John Ray Jr., minister of worship and arts at Light of the World Christian Church in Indianapolis, sees a troubling trend with gospel music and musicians.

“Some black church music and musicians have forgotten that Christians are called to walk a tightrope,” he said. “We are walking the thin line between being in this world and not of it. God’s standards are not those of this world, but we are called to make it so. When we engage the world, we are to represent Christ and his way, not the other way around. This is true for music as well.”

Ray believes that this capitulation to the world by gospel music and musicians is exemplified in Snoop Dogg’s recent release, Bible of Love. “It is emblematic of where we are when a secular rapper who firmly espouses the values of the world [both before and after the release of the record] can decide to record a gospel album and it becomes No. 1 on the gospel charts.”

Christian hip-hop or gospel rap?

Christian hip-hop or gospel rap has been around commercially since the early 1980s. As a subgenre, it has not received anywhere near the traction, acclaim or influence of traditional urban gospel music. One of the reasons is that hip-hop was not born of the church but owes its roots to the streets of the black inner city and as such is often associated with the negative aspects of those streets and neighborhoods.

Jamel “Jkeyz” Richardson, a songwriter and producer who is also a member of the music ministry at the Resurrection Center, says Christian hip-hop faces an uphill battle because of the inability of some churches and Christians to have an open mind.

“Because hip-hop has produced music and lyrics about death, drugs and destruction, it’s hard for some people to accept and hear good news coming from someone using the same music,” he said.

Richardson has worked with and produced many Christian hip-hop artists, including John Cook, Canton Jones, Iz-Real and S. Todd (Bishop Townsend). He believes that artists like these as well as artists like Lecrae, Andy Mineo and KB may be able to reach a generation for Christ more effectively than traditional gospel artists would.

Homecoming

 The Second Baptist Church of Washington, a historically black church that’s 160 years old, celebrates on the first Sunday after Barack Obama’s presidential election victory on Nov. 9, 2008. Choir members (from left) Mary Terrell, Grace Davis, Vernelle C. Hamit, Lena Bradley and Sharon Bradley belt out a tune during service.

The black church has had an extraordinary impact on American culture. So much of the music that the world has enjoyed over the past 75-plus years is a direct result of music and musicians who have come out of the church.

According to Ford, the world is reaping the benefits of the gifts of the black church.

“The church world doesn’t really realize how powerful they really are in terms of the arts [and culture],” he said. “When you talk about Bruno Mars, Jay-Z and so many others, I know their musical directors. They all come from the church. So whether we want to celebrate it or not, they are products of the church. And so the church has actually made the world successful because you have trusted what has come out of the church regardless of whether you agree with their philosophy or religion.”

Economic, social and technological factors have affected the way music is developed, marketed and consumed. Gospel music is not immune to those pressures, particularly in the gospel music industry. However, the black church as an institution has the power and the ability to profoundly affect the culture with the continuum of music and musicians that has given birth to going out into the world as “salt and light.”

Ford wants to make sure the music and musicians who go out into the world from the church find a way back home.

“Musicians and artists who start out in the church, they get their foundation. They get their chance to stand out, to perform, and then they go out and become ‘famous’ and financially secure,” he said. “For them to be able to complete the full circle, they need to be able to come back to the community and help the community. I feel in the church that should be the goal of what church musicians or church artists are doing. Whether or not everyone does it, that’s something different.”

A homecoming of sorts will help ensure that the pathway created between the church and the secular world continues to be a two-way street with most of the impact and change coming from the church.

What’s 🔥 Right Now

Waller recognizes the power of black music to do good and evil along that two-way street.

“There’s power in music. There’s power in the good news of Jesus Christ. There’s power in our type of music, meaning the tonalities that come out of the crash of African and European musicalities that is something that is very American, very special, very powerful, very appealing, and because of that we need to nurture it, use it to inspire.

“We need to recognize how powerful lyric is on top of that. When we get the right [or wrong] lyric on top of good music, it can inspire people to do good or do evil. [Much of the music of the world has a] lyric [that] lacks depth, insight and the prophetic, and so what we want to do is tie the two, because the right lyric with the right music will last forever.”

Andre Kimo Stone Guess is a writer and cultural critic from the Smoketown neighborhood in Louisville, Kentucky. He was VP and Producer for Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York and CEO of the August Wilson Center for African American Culture in Pittsburgh. He now runs GuessWorks, Inc. with his wife Cheryl.

By Andre Kimo Stone Guess

 

Right now, the 51st Annual Convention of the Gospel Music Workshop of America is being held in Atlanta. The hot topic? The state of gospel music. A cross section of people from the gospel community — including pastors, ministers of music, artists and church musicians — will try to get a sense of the impact of gospel music on today’s culture from three perspectives: the music, the message and the musicians.

Looking at the balance of tradition versus innovation in the styles of recorded gospel music and music performed in church has led them to ask whether the underlying message of gospel has changed, and what is the impact of that on the culture.

Tradition vs. innovation

There has been a historic tension in the black church between the music and the musicians who it birthed. At different points in time, musicians were ostracized from the church for playing new styles of music that were deemed inappropriate. Often, these musicians picked themselves up from the proverbial curb of the church from which they were just kicked and took those new styles into the secular world.

Over time, these innovations were eventually accepted and invited back into the church, creating a pathway between the church and the secular music world and popular culture.

Steven Ford, a Grammy, Dove and Stellar award-winning musician, composer, arranger and producer, has worked with a who’s who list of gospel artists and has contributed to nearly 100 recording projects. During his tenure in the gospel industry, he has seen constant change.

“Gospel music is ever-changing. It’s always evolving. What I heard 10 years ago is different in the church now, but it’s still called gospel music. You can’t put it in a box,” he said.

In the continuum of gospel music that starts with the Negro spiritual and goes through a lineage that includes Thomas Dorsey, Roberta Martin, James Cleveland, Andrae Crouch, Edwin Hawkins and Kirk Franklin, is there a tradition of sound that needs to be codified and preserved for future generations or should the innovation just be allowed to move forward without any regard for a tradition?

Grammy and Stellar award-winning producer and artist Donald Lawrence sees himself as a part of a proud tradition of an unbroken line of gospel musicians who came before him while also finding inspiration from outside of gospel.

“From traditional to contemporary, you still could hear elements [of a tradition]. From contemporary to urban, you still could hear elements of where it came from,” he said. “I was inspired by [Andrae] Crouch and [Edwin] Hawkins. Crouch was inspired by [James] Cleveland and Hawkins was inspired by The Caravans, and they were inspired by people before them. And also, Hawkins was inspired by pop writers, and the same with me. I was inspired my musical theater writers and [also] by Luther [Vandross]. But when you start going a little more like rock-driven, it kind of erases that.”

The rock-driven aspect of gospel music that Lawrence is referring to is not rock ’n’ roll per se. What he is speaking of is the underlying chord structure that is contained in much of today’s gospel, particularly music from the praise and worship movement. The harmonies come out of chords that are rock-based, as opposed to the traditional blues-infused gospel tradition.

Praise and worship movement

Judith McAllister is often referred to as “The First Lady of Praise and Worship.” She has served for more than 17 years as worship leader at the West Angeles Church of God in Christ in Los Angeles under the leadership of Bishop Charles E. Blake Sr. She is the church’s executive director of the music and worship department and in 2009 was appointed to the office of minister of music/president of the international music department.

Under the leadership of Blake, McAllister, along with Patrick Peterson, began the praise and worship movement at West Angeles in the late 1980s.

“At that time, we as African-Americans were not singing that type of music in our churches,” she said. “We were singing more of the spiritual and devotional songs and we needed to be ‘zapped’ by the spirit to dance, to lift our hands or to rejoice. But this [movement] was now more of an at-will or I will, as the Scripture says, kind of worship.”

The praise and worship movement has spread like wildfire throughout the black church over the past 30 years. One of the unintended consequences of the movement was a decline in traditional choirs in some churches in favor of smaller praise and worship teams.

Decline in choirs

Grammy, Dove and Stellar Award-winning composer, arranger and artist Richard Smallwood laments the decline of the traditional gospel choir in today’s gospel music. Smallwood sees the increase of smaller praise and worship teams as a more efficient and less cumbersome music ministry option for many churches.

“It’s easier to work with the smaller praise team configurations than it is to work with a choir, and much of the music that those type of ensembles are singing are a lot easier to teach and learn for the singers,” he said. “Working with a choir and teaching them the intricacies of the music is harder, but it is also more rewarding.”

Alyn E. Waller, senior pastor of the Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church in Philadelphia, is a trained musician who aspired to become a professional musician before heeding the call to ministry. The Stellar Award nominee regularly ministers through song with the Enon Tabernacle Mass Choir and as a soloist. He contrasts the music of a traditional gospel choir to that of smaller contemporary gospel groups of today.

“We’ve become almost monolithic in our expression musically,” Waller said. “Sometimes when you hear a traditional gospel choir from a black university come and do a concert where the first half is spirituals and the second half is contemporary gospel, you can hear how dumbed down the music has become, from four- or five-part harmonies to three or even a single line. The imagery that’s painted with the words is not as beautiful as it was, and the ties to Scripture [are not as strong]. There are some very famous songs now that are theologically horrendous.”

Innovation leads to imitation

Looking back over the past 30 years since the beginning of the praise and worship movement, McAllister senses another change coming in gospel music. “As it was then [in the late ’80s], so it is now. I think we have reached an impasse because everyone is doing the same thing,” she said. “I think there is coming a new sound, a new technique that everyone will now gravitate to. Everything is really starting to sound the same.”

Like McAllister and Waller, Lawrence also senses a similar stagnation in the music.

“To me, gospel music today has become a little monolithic; a lot of it is the same. This is the first time I have really seen this,” he said. “Gospel has always been about a diversity of brands or sounds. It’s never been one message, one sound. It was always one message with multiple sounds. Commerce has pushed a lot of the newer artists to be one message, one sound.”

This phenomenon isn’t unique to gospel music. James Poyser, a member of the hip-hop band The Roots, sees a similar trend in music in general. Poyser, a pastor’s kid, got his start playing in church and took that experience and branched out. He is now a fixture on the hip-hop and rhythm and blues scene. “Everything is becoming homogenized,” he said. “Everything is starting to sound the same. Everybody has the same [computer music] programs and are using the same sounds. They all communicate with each other, and because of the internet, everything is readily available. Gospel music is just following the trend of popular music.”

Diversity of music worship

While recorded gospel music may be facing a challenge of diversity of sound, some pastors are embracing the entire continuum of the black music tradition to reach their congregations.

Todd Townsend has been pastoring at the Resurrection Center in Wilmington, Delaware, for nearly 20 years. The church will celebrate its 126th anniversary this year. Townsend has a doctorate in family therapy and doctorate of education in educational leadership, and a few years ago he added a gospel rap album to his résumé.

“I always loved music, all forms of music. Poetry has always been important to me, but I never really thought to put the two together,” he said.

One day his minister of music asked him to sing a song. Because he doesn’t really sing, he reluctantly agreed, if the minister of music would agree to coach him. He actually never sang that song, but it led him to do some writing and put some poetry to beats. His musicians liked what he came up with and invited him into the studio, and seven months later he had his first album and a whole new set of passions.

This passion has opened up new doors and has made his church relevant to a whole new generation of worshippers.

“We keep all variables available because every generation is relevant. From our oldest elder who wants the hymns like Precious Lord, we have that. We have cafes where we will have a jazz vibe. And then for the young people who have an appetite for hip-hop, we also have that,” he said. “Our responsibility as an institution is our loyalty to the gospel message. We create those options for people. It’s a lot of fun and innovative, but it’s also risky. I received some critical feedback from rapping. After the first album came out, I had people tell me, ‘You got 20 years of experience and faithful service. You’re a solid preacher. Why do you want to throw all that away?’

“I processed that and decided to weather the storm. As I continued on the road and grew as an artist and my material got better, they saw that I am still the same guy that I always was. The critics began to turn, and now they say don’t stop. As a matter of fact, they say, why don’t you come to my church.”

One message, many sounds

While the styles of gospel music have evolved over the years, the thing that truly distinguishes it from other genres is the message.

Regardless of the style of music, most everyone agrees that in order for it to truly be considered gospel music, the message has to be clear, consistent and Christ-centered.

As a musician and a pastor, Waller understands the power of the message in gospel music.

“Gospel music has always helped us to be prophetic, meaning to critique the present ideology, speak truth to power and, where power has no clue, offer a more imaginable social future — which is hope,” he said. “Whether it has beats to it or no beats, the essence of gospel music is the hope of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

In some instances, commercial forces have conspired to compromise the message of gospel music. In an effort to gain a wider audience, some artists have decided not only to go for a more homogenized sound but also to water down the message, making it unclear whether the song is truly about God.

Ford has seen this phenomenon at work firsthand.

“The gospel music industry has changed in order to promote sales. Will the artist be willing to make changes for sales?” he asked. “In other words, I’m going to change you from your style and your message to the current thing that is selling. If you do that, then to me, you’re selling out. You’re changing for the consumer. If you’re going to be true to gospel music and what is being sung in church on Sunday morning, then that message can’t change. That’s why we have people today saying, ‘I’m a little confused. Is that gospel or is that something else?’ ”

Even with the right words, the true impact of the music may be lost if there is a disconnect between the words of the song and the life being lived by the artist.

“Many have departed from the true tenets of what gospel music is. Gospel is the good news. To live what the good news says has been something that in my estimation has become increasingly scarce,” said McAllister. “If those who are playing, singing and ministering the music don’t have the power that makes the music come alive, then you will have wonderful ear candy but no impact on a generation.”

Musicians: the salt and the light

Jazz and R&B saxophonist Kirk Whalum has spent most of his career playing secular music. He’s played and toured with the likes of Whitney Houston and Vandross, but like many black musicians in popular music, he grew up playing in the church. His son plays bass for Kelly Clarkson, and his nephew plays saxophone with many R&B and pop artists, including D’Angelo and Beyoncé.

Whalum estimates that up to 90 percent of the black musicians playing secular music today came out of the church, and for the younger generations of church musicians like his son and nephew, he offers some sage advice.

“I challenge some of these kids who come out of the church to serve God out in the mainstream industry, but kind of be stealth [about it],” he said. “You don’t have to come straight out and say that I’m a Christian. All you are really called to do is to live a life for Christ that draws people to the cross and at the very least to cause people to be curious about you and wonder what it is about you that makes you tick.”

McAllister has a cadre of supremely talented musicians in her employ at West Angeles who perform with the latest sensations of pop, R&B and hip-hop. She has set a high bar of expectation for her musicians and church musicians in general.

“Church musicians have an obligation when they go out into the world to be salt and light,” she said. “Salt does not become effective until it gets into an area of decay, and light does not become effective unless it goes into darkness. I have no problem with collaborations [with secular artists] as long as you can go in and change the environment and not allow the environment to change you.”

Rev. John Ray Jr., minister of worship and arts at Light of the World Christian Church in Indianapolis, sees a troubling trend with gospel music and musicians.

“Some black church music and musicians have forgotten that Christians are called to walk a tightrope,” he said. “We are walking the thin line between being in this world and not of it. God’s standards are not those of this world, but we are called to make it so. When we engage the world, we are to represent Christ and his way, not the other way around. This is true for music as well.”

Ray believes that this capitulation to the world by gospel music and musicians is exemplified in Snoop Dogg’s recent release, Bible of Love. “It is emblematic of where we are when a secular rapper who firmly espouses the values of the world [both before and after the release of the record] can decide to record a gospel album and it becomes No. 1 on the gospel charts.”

Christian hip-hop or gospel rap?

Christian hip-hop or gospel rap has been around commercially since the early 1980s. As a subgenre, it has not received anywhere near the traction, acclaim or influence of traditional urban gospel music. One of the reasons is that hip-hop was not born of the church but owes its roots to the streets of the black inner city and as such is often associated with the negative aspects of those streets and neighborhoods.

Jamel “Jkeyz” Richardson, a songwriter and producer who is also a member of the music ministry at the Resurrection Center, says Christian hip-hop faces an uphill battle because of the inability of some churches and Christians to have an open mind.

“Because hip-hop has produced music and lyrics about death, drugs and destruction, it’s hard for some people to accept and hear good news coming from someone using the same music,” he said.

Richardson has worked with and produced many Christian hip-hop artists, including John Cook, Canton Jones, Iz-Real and S. Todd (Bishop Townsend). He believes that artists like these as well as artists like Lecrae, Andy Mineo and KB may be able to reach a generation for Christ more effectively than traditional gospel artists would.

Homecoming

 

The Second Baptist Church of Washington, a historically black church that’s 160 years old, celebrates on the first Sunday after Barack Obama’s presidential election victory on Nov. 9, 2008. Choir members (from left) Mary Terrell, Grace Davis, Vernelle C. Hamit, Lena Bradley and Sharon Bradley belt out a tune during service.

The black church has had an extraordinary impact on American culture. So much of the music that the world has enjoyed over the past 75-plus years is a direct result of music and musicians who have come out of the church.

According to Ford, the world is reaping the benefits of the gifts of the black church.

“The church world doesn’t really realize how powerful they really are in terms of the arts [and culture],” he said. “When you talk about Bruno Mars, Jay-Z and so many others, I know their musical directors. They all come from the church. So whether we want to celebrate it or not, they are products of the church. And so the church has actually made the world successful because you have trusted what has come out of the church regardless of whether you agree with their philosophy or religion.”

Economic, social and technological factors have affected the way music is developed, marketed and consumed. Gospel music is not immune to those pressures, particularly in the gospel music industry. However, the black church as an institution has the power and the ability to profoundly affect the culture with the continuum of music and musicians that has given birth to going out into the world as “salt and light.”

Ford wants to make sure the music and musicians who go out into the world from the church find a way back home.

“Musicians and artists who start out in the church, they get their foundation. They get their chance to stand out, to perform, and then they go out and become ‘famous’ and financially secure,” he said. “For them to be able to complete the full circle, they need to be able to come back to the community and help the community. I feel in the church that should be the goal of what church musicians or church artists are doing. Whether or not everyone does it, that’s something different.”

A homecoming of sorts will help ensure that the pathway created between the church and the secular world continues to be a two-way street with most of the impact and change coming from the church.

What’s 🔥 Right Now

Waller recognizes the power of black music to do good and evil along that two-way street.

“There’s power in music. There’s power in the good news of Jesus Christ. There’s power in our type of music, meaning the tonalities that come out of the crash of African and European musicalities that is something that is very American, very special, very powerful, very appealing, and because of that we need to nurture it, use it to inspire.

“We need to recognize how powerful lyric is on top of that. When we get the right [or wrong] lyric on top of good music, it can inspire people to do good or do evil. [Much of the music of the world has a] lyric [that] lacks depth, insight and the prophetic, and so what we want to do is tie the two, because the right lyric with the right music will last forever.”

Andre Kimo Stone Guess is a writer and cultural critic from the Smoketown neighborhood in Louisville, Kentucky. He was VP and Producer for Jazz at Lincoln Center in New York and CEO of the August Wilson Center for African American Culture in Pittsburgh. He now runs GuessWorks, Inc. with his wife Cheryl.

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God Is Our Present Help


By admin, 2018-07-01

God is our Present Help

  by Richard A. Cox, Jr , Author of "I, We, Us:  A Journey of Personal Growth and Development"

“God is our Refuge and Strength (mighty and impenetrable to temptation) a very present and well-proved help in trouble.”
(Psalm 46:1 Amp)

All of us have experienced a situation that made us feel boxed in. In those situations, we have prayed to God for help when time was running out for a resolution. At that moment when you cried out for God to divinely intervene, He stepped into your situation - in the nick of time - to rescue you. This increased your faith and trust in God because He cared enough to show up for you.

When we experience and witness God’s concern about our troubles, it strengthens our relationship with Him. God establishes a parent-child relationship with us; the parent is protective and concerned about the welfare of the child’s growth and development.

It is important for us to study the Bible and know the spiritual rights and promises God has made available to us as believers. Sometimes God creates storms or tests in our lives to focus our attention on Him. God can bless you so much that you slowly start to “slack up” spending quality time with Him in prayer and devotion.

When troubles arise, it makes you realize you cannot resolve these issues on your own. You need God to be your present help to provide:

  1. Comfort – “Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:6-7 KJV) Let God’s loving arms wrap around you in your time of distress.
  2. Healing – “For I am the Lord who heals you.” (Exodus 15:26 KJV). That is a promise God has made - if the request is in accordance with His Will.
  3. Deliverance – “And call upon me in the day of trouble: I will deliver thee and thou shalt glorify me.” (Psalm 50:15 KJV) We should call upon the Lord and expect Him to act on our behalf.
  4. Shelter – “He shall cover thee with feathers and under his wings shalt be thy shield and buckler.” (Psalm 91:4 KJV). With God on our side, we are protected and safe because no one can match His Power.
  5. Victory – “This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4 KJV) Our faith in God alerts Him to come to our rescue to give us the victory in our situation.

God hears our prayer and is immediately available to help us. We need to understand that God’s timing is not on our time schedule. After we request God’s help, He is going to use His timing and solution to resolve our issues as He see fit.

 

It is wonderful to know that God’s presence is an eternal presence. In Matthew 28:20 (KJV) it says, “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” Also, in Isaiah 41:10 (KJV) it says “fear thou not, for I am with thee: but be not dismayed; for I am thy God; I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

God’s presence inspires assurance that we are never out of His sight for a moment. This is why God comes instantly to help and deliver us in times of distress. God also gives us an inner peace independent of our circumstances. It is the presence of the Holy Ghost, which makes it possible for us to choose not to be troubled or fearful.

We have concerns about our jobs or lack of a job, our health, our family, our money, or the future of this country. In Psalm 121:1-2 (KJV) it says, “I will lift my eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help, my help cometh from the Lord who has made heaven and earth.” We must acknowledge God as our ultimate source for all our needs.

In this life we will have problems but the difference, as a Christian is that we are not alone dealing with the problem. As in John 16:33 it says, “in this world you will have trouble. But take heart. I have overcome the world.”

In times of trouble:

  1. Seek the Lord
  2. Keep your lines of communication open between you and God.
  3. Know that God is with you

In 2 Corinthians 4:8-9 (KJV) it says, “we are troubled on every side yet not distressed, we are perplexed but not in despair. Persecuted but not forsaken, cast down but not destroyed.” God does not bring evil on us but sometimes He places you in challenging situations for the cause of Christ. In other situations, it may be a matter of time before the Lord changes your circumstances.

God promised to make a way of “escape” in the midst of distress, enabling us to bear certain temptations or trials. In 1 Corinthians 10:13 (KJV) it says “there hath no temptation taken you but such as common to man, but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” That way of escape is the presence and peace of God, which abides in us to give us victory in the midst of conflict – peace in the midst of turmoil. The presence of God in our lives enables us to bear certain hardships and difficulties. God will not allow you to endure an ordeal beyond your ability.

I want you to remember that God is with you always. He will provide the resources you need to lead your life. He will provide strength for you to face tomorrow; no matter what tomorrow brings.

 

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Celebrate Fathers


By admin, 2018-06-08

                                    Celebrate Fathers

   by Richard A. Cox, Jr.  the author "I, We, Us:  A Journey of Personal Growth and Development"

“A good father is one of the most unsung, unpraised, unnoticed, and yet one of the more valuable assets in our society.”  Billy Graham

      These days the concept of the family is under attack and the role of the father is made light of.  Show your support for fatherhood by loving, celebrating and honoring our fathers.  Father’s day for some is filled with mixed emotions. Some of you grew up with a father and others your father was absent from your household. I want you to focus this year on celebrating the goodness of fatherhood by not only honor fathers but all men who are fathers, father figures, stepfathers, uncles, grandfathers, and adult male friends.  However, remember the greatest father of them all is God the Father. 

      Did you know how Father’s day originated?  A woman name Sonora Smart Dodd from Spokane, Washington, thought of the idea for Father’s Day while listening to a Mother’s Day sermon in 1909.  Her father, Henry Jackson Smart, had raised Sonora after her mother died and she wanted him to know how special he was to her.  Her father was born in June, so she chose that month to celebrate fathers.  The first Father’s day was observed on June 19, 1910.  In 1924 President Calvin Coolidge supported the idea of a national Father’s Day.  Finally in 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed a presidential proclamation declaring the 3rd Sunday of June as Father’s Day.

      Father’s day was established to celebrate the many contributions and sacrifices fathers make daily for the family.    For a Christian father it matters to him how he educates, and guides his children to Jesus Christ. He wants to be a faithful Christian role model for his family.   In Ephesians 6:4(AMP) it says, “Fathers, do not irritate and provoke your children to anger [do not exasperate them to resentment], but rear them [tenderly] in the training and discipline and the counsel and admonition of the Lord.” Christian fathers strive to raise their children in the training and admonition of the Lord.  God desires children to be nurtured by fathers who love Him.  That’s why we should celebrate Fathers for being a good provider for his family.   Remember this Father’s day, it’s not all about giving a gift to your father he might simply enjoy hearing you say, “I love you Daddy!” 

       In Ephesians 6:1-3(NIV) it says “Children obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  Honor your Father and Mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may livelong on the earth.”  This honor involves you showing love, respect and appreciation to God for the parents He has given to you.  Father’s Day is your opportunity to celebrate your father and father figures for their love, support, encouragement, guidance and protection.    

         Father’s day is where you stop and reflect on the fond memories of your father.  As a young child you might have said, “Daddy can do anything!””As a teenager you might have said, “Oh, that man! He’s hopelessly out of date.”  As a young adult you might remember saying “Why don’t we get Dad’s opinion before we do anything.”  Your father might have passed and you might have said, “I’d give anything if Dad were here so I could talk this over with him. “  Our cherished memories about our Fathers are the reason we take the time each year to celebrate him. 

                  Remember Christian fathers are those beacons of light faithfully serving in your homes, communities and churches. In Matthew 5:16 (KJV), it declares, “Let your light so shine before men , that they may see your good works and glorify your Father  which is in heaven.”  Christian fathers take every opportunity to encourage, to warn, to teach, to counsel, and to model the Christian life for you. Celebrate and thank God for blessing your father and special men who have a fathering spirit in your lives. Enjoy the quality time you get to spend with your father this year on his special day.

 

                                                                   What Makes A Dad

                                     God took the strength of a mountain, The majesty of a tree,

                                     The warmth of a summer sun, The calm of a quiet sea,

                                     The generous soul of nature, The comforting arm of night,

                                     The wisdom of the ages, The power of the eagle’s flight,

                                     The joy of a morning in spring, The faith of a mustard seed,

                                     The patience of eternity, The depth of a family need,

                           Then God combined these qualities, When there was nothing more to

                            add,      He knew His masterpiece was complete,

                                                  And so, He called it…Dad

                                                                     Author Unknown

 

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How long will I be allowed to remain a Christian?


By Douglas MacKinnon 





“How long will I be allowed to remain a Christian?”

That was the deeply dismaying question posed to me by a friend with four young children as we discussed the plight of the Christian faith in America and around the world.

With each passing month, that shocking question becomes more relevant and even more disturbing.

To say that Christians and Christianity are under a withering and brutal attack in certain areas of the world would be an understatement.

In various parts of the Middle East, there is a genocidal cleansing of Christians being carried out. Women, men, and their young children are being slaughtered because of their faith and world leaders and most of the media turn their backs in bored indifference.

Here in the United States, Christians and Christianity are mocked, belittled, smeared and attacked by some on a daily basis. This is a bigoted practice that is not only increasing exponentially, but is being encouraged and sanctioned by a number on the left.

Too many of those who worship at the altar of political correctness have deemed that Christianity should no longer be respected. Rather, they assail it on a regular basis in a coordinated campaign to weaken the faith and its base.

The prevailing view in much of the media is that Christianity is aligned with Republicans, conservatives, or the views of President Trump – and therefore must be diminished and made suspect.

The New Yorker just described the opening of a few Chick-fil-A restaurants in New York City as “Pervasive Christian traditionalism,” and a “Creepy infiltration of New York City.”

Christianity is an “infiltration” to some on the left.

In college, they now teach about the evils of “Christian Privilege.” On Broadway and in theaters around the world, mocking Christians has become a massively profitable money-making venture.

In name, on the crucifix, and in art, Jesus Christ is desecrated in the most twisted and obscene of ways. In movies, on television and online, Christians are portrayed in the most dishonest, prejudiced and insulting of ways.

Across the country, Christian colleges are under constant assault from “social justice warriors” seeking to strip their accreditation and put them out of business.

Christian groups on campus are at times being persecuted, their offices and handouts vandalized, with members even being physically assaulted.

In a nation that is still majority Christian, those who follow the faith have been litigated or brow-beaten into being fearful to utter the words “Merry Christmas,” or to display a Nativity scene celebrating the one and only reason there is a Christmas Day.

Want to stay true to your Christian faith in the most innocuous and giving of ways?

To do so is becoming more perilous by the minute, when you stop to ponder just a sampling of the negative consequences. For example:

A high school football coach is fired for taking a knee in prayer. A teacher is fired for giving a Bible to a student who requested it. A Marine is cursed at and then court-martialed for not removing a Bible verse from her computer. Another Bible verse posted by sailors in a military hospital is labeled “extremism.”

For me personally, I continue to be ridiculed for writing and speaking about a vision I had regarding the 40 days after the resurrection.

If you are a practicing Christian in the United States and open about it, you, your congregation and your organization will become a target of some sort. It is only a matter of time.

Ironically, in some very real and ominous ways, it’s as if we are being transported back to ancient Rome.

Will we soon have to meet with fellow Christians in secret? Will we have to whisper our beliefs from the shadows? Will those Christians with “traditional” beliefs lose their jobs and livelihoods if discovered?

As more and more of the mainstream media, entertainment, academia and the hi-tech world continue to purge or discriminate against Christians, what future job fields will be open to young Christians?

Will those Christian children eventually be forced to renounce or deny their faith in order to get a job and provide for their families?

As a Christian, I truly do have the deepest respect for every faith. The vast majority of people of every faith are beyond good and do seek to follow the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”

Why do so many on the left, in the media, entertainment and academia not practice that most simple, loving and humane of rules when it comes to the Christian faith?


Douglas MacKinnon is a former White House and Pentagon official




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Communist China Bans Online Bible Sales -- Crosses Removed From Churches





Michael W. Chapman

By Michael W. Chapman | April 6, 2018 | 4:49 PM EDT


















Chinese Christians kiss the

new Bibles they received

from a foreign distributor.

(YouTube)


The Communist Chinese government banned the sale of Bibles online this week and released a new document dictating its "Policies and Practices on Protecting Freedom of Religious Belief." 

By Thursday, April 5, "internet searches for the Bible came up empty on leading online Chinese retailers, such as JD.com, Taobao, and Amazon," reported the New York Times

Christianity is the only religion in China, according to The Times, in which its primary holy book, the Bible, is banned online. Books from other religions such as Buddhism, Taoism, and Islam are available. The Quran is not banned online.

People can buy the Bible at bookstores in China. According to the government's new document on religious freedom, "China has printed over 160 million copies of the Bible in more than 100 different languages for over 100 countries and regions...."


Chinese Christian reading his first Bible, provided by a private distributor in China. (YouTube)


The restriction of online sales "clearly shows that they [Chinese government] worry or are concerned about Catholics as well as Protestants," Prof. Yang Fenggang, head of the Center on Religion and Chinese Society at Purdue University, told The Times

The newspaper further reported that the Communist government in China continues to remove crosses from Christian churches and that in 2014-16, "more than 1,500 crosses were removed from churches in one Chinese province with close ties" to President Xi Jinping.

In addition, Christians in some parts of China are ordered to replace pictures of Jesus with those of President Xi, if they want to receive government assistance. 

In its document on "Protecting Freedom of Religious Belief," the Chinese government states that it “manages religious affairs in accordance with the law” and “actively guides religions to adapt to the socialist society….”


Communist China's president, Xi

Jinping, is often compared to

dictator Mao Zedong. (YouTube)


"The state treats all religions fairly and equally, and does not exercise administrative power to encourage or ban any religion," claims the document. "No religion is given preferential treatment above other religions to enjoy special legal privileges."

China is ranked among the Top 50 countries in the world for persecution of Christians, according to the World Watch List. 

According to Freedom House, "controls over religion in China have increased since 2012, seeping into new areas of daily life and triggering growing resistance from believers."

“As the larger of the two main Christian denominations in China, Protestants have been particularly affected by cross-removal and church-demolition campaigns, punishment of state-sanctioned leaders, and the arrest of human rights lawyers who take up Christians’ cases," said Freedom House in its report, The Battle for China's Spirit: Religious Revival, Repression, and Resistance under Xi Jinping.

Since the Communists seized power in China in 1949, at least 65 million people have been killed for political/class and even religious reasons. Most of the perpetrators of those crimes -- government officials implementing government policies -- have not been held accountable for their atrocities. 







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