Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday
by Bobby Brown

The multitudes went before Jesus
On that triumphant entry’s day
Many laid down their garments
Others spread branches in Jesus’ way

For Behold! Here comes the King
Riding on a donkey, into the town
Meek and lowly of heart
Yet the multitudes would all bow down

Hosanna! To God in the highest
For sending to earth His Son
The miracle worker, the Prince of Peace
The coming King, the Anointed One

And Sunday during our church service
We give our palm branch a wave
To our invisible God and Lord
For His entry and His ability to save

©2015, Robert A. Brown, Seated Above, Looking Below – Used with Permission
This poem is from a new book that Bob is currently working on and hopes to have released by the summer.  Feel free to use the poem in your Palm Sunday worship.

Musician or Artist?

by Steve Brown and Mike Westendorf

Are you a musician, an artist, or both? Are the best musicians artists? This post attempts to answer these questions.

In the secular world, you can watch any popular singing talent show and hear the judges tell the contestants that ‘artists’ make the song their own. And it’s the incredibly talented ‘musicians’ that back-up the singers.

The Musician
A musician is a person who plays an instrument to make pleasing sonorous sounds either solo or in joyful combination with other musicians. Musicians can be highly technical and accomplished to the point of sight reading nearly any piece of music and from any style or genre. They are detail oriented and like things ordered.

The Artist
By contrast, an artist usually has the musician’s skill set but adds to it an individual interpretation. The artist is a creative type by nature, she sees things a bit differently, she innovates and interprets a piece of music beyond the printed notes – they like to be the ones with the box of crayons. He is a trendsetter with something burning in his heart that he just has to share. The artist is more personal and less of a perfectionist and typically uses the right side of the brain more. Artists tend to be somewhat thin-skinned, sensitive and more emotional than other people. The artist sometimes needs the musician to help bring their musical creation to life.

Synergy
Both are needed in God’s kingdom. Both are servants. Both are gifted by God. Both are passionate. Both are loved by God. Both are God’s children. We need both. We encourage you, as the church leaders to foster a community that engages both in harmonious worship.

The Church
Unfortunately, in the traditional church where Steve and Mike roam, the musicians tend to dominate and the artists are somewhat looked upon with judgmental suspicion. This is sad because it’s what’s in the heart that matters. But based on the definitions and observations mentioned here, both musicians and artists can have humble, servant hearts with a passion to serve their Lord and the congregation. Let’s put it this way, King David was most likely both an artist and a musician.  

In the church, we actually need to learn how to harness the artist’s gifts better. Here is some advice:
  1. Artists are particularly well suited for special events such as concerts, picnics, outreach events, teen groups, special bible studies, festivals, etc.  Give the artists a little room here and watch their imaginations bring glory to God.
  2. Artists can be used in the worship service but might need a little guidance from the Pastor in terms of song selection and protocol.
  3. Combine the artists with the musical worship team for a bounty of beautiful music.
  4. Have the artists work with your musicians to help to improve their craft, and vice-versa.
So which are you?  Me (Steve), I am a musician and not a very good one. Mike, he’s an artist and too humble to say, so I’ll say it for him – he is a gifted one. In the end, it of course doesn’t matter; what does matter is your belief in Jesus as your personal savior from sin.

A special thanks to Mike Westendorf for joining me on this post and sharing his insights. Mike is a church ‘musician’ and a recording ‘artist’ in the Milwaukee area. For more information, or to discuss booking arrangements at your church, contact Mike at:

Website: mikewestendorf.com
Email: mike@mikewestendorf.com

Other places to learn more about Mike and his music:

A Lutheran’s Take on Emotions

Traditional Lutherans are not robots. We have emotions, BUT…
  • Emotions will never save or damn
  • Emotions are not a reliable indicator of saving faith or it’s intensity
  • Emotions do not necessarily indicate the validity of an action or statement
  • The content of a message and it’s validity rather than the emotion of a message is always much, much, much more valuable and important
The Take Away!
Emotions aren’t good or bad in and of themselves; as a matter of fact Jesus, who is love, was emotional as noted in scripture’s shortest verse – “He wept” and in countless other places.  Our worship is often emotional. We experience joy and sorrow, we weep and we joyously celebrate. But these are natural and personal reactions to the beauty, and the wonder, and the power, and the agony, and the grief, and the awe that we hear and experience in God’s word and through His grace and mercy towards us. Emotions are in fact a gift from God. They make life interesting. They separate us from insects.  But like most good things, they too can also be manipulated or mis-interpreted, so we need to be careful.

 

Just saying, and with feeling!

I Will Lead More than a Song

I Will Lead More than a Song

I will lead more than a song
More than a Psalm or two
I will encourage the people to sing along
This is what a worship leader should do

I will sing more than a hymn
I will praise and pray
Deep from my soul within
From this earthen vessel of mired clay

I will strum more than a chord
Living for Jesus, day by day
Lifting our voices in one accord
And for my Pastor, I will pray

I will reach for ever higher notes
For the gospel, I am not ashamed
For Christ, in Him alone do I boast
He overcame; Worthy to proclaim

When you sing, you will find a blessing. God will not judge you if you sing poorly because He knows your heart and that’s what matters most to Him. Singing is the voice of your heart. If you can’t sing well, consider it an opportunity for humility. You will never be ostracized for a lack of skill when it comes to singing.

WELS – Indie Authors!

These are all books that were written and self-published by members of the WELS (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod):

A children’s book, illustrated by a Pastor and written by his son:

 

From writer, blogger and poet; Adam Nitz:

 

Poems, Prayers, Ministry Resources and more:

 

First Person Sermons, now in Audio and Book formats:

 

How to Start Webcasting for Churches:

http://www.wels.net
Christ’s Love is Our Calling!

The Golden Chain of Blessing

The Golden Chain of Blessings


Most churches in my denomination who follow the Lectionary will be listening to the reading of Romans 5:1-11 this Sunday as it is our Epistle reading for the day. I am giving permission for anyone who wants to reprint my poem based on Romans 5:3-4 in their bulletin or as an insert for your people to contemplate during the pre-service time. Pastors, also feel free to use this in your sermon if applicable.

“We glory in our sufferings, Because suffering produces perseverance; Perseverance, character; And character, hope.”  – Romans 5:3, 4

— 
We struggle through our sufferings, 
we drown in currents of woe, 
We all have stories of distress, 
whose origin we may not know. 

But determination will build slowly over time,
A glowing perseverance among our earthly grime. 
It builds to a point we really do not deserve, 
A city on a hill, a light, for all to observe. 

Then finally, a promise catches us by surprise, 
Blessings flow and gush right before our very eyes. 
It’s a golden chain of blessings after all, 
Suffering – perseverance – character – hope 
Designed by the Master to help us cope. 

It’s for our own good and in the end, 
it will be understood. 
Suffering was shared by Jesus, 
the One who also once withstood. 
So fear not, for the Holy Spirit is with you all the time, 
Hang onto the hope and use it to get through the daily grind. 


©2015, Steven Brown, Used with Permission

God Is…

I set out to define who God is, by looking for all the “God is” statements in The Bible and low and behold; I found a total of 50 short phrases that nicely define Him.  
Here’s what the doctor prescribes:
  • For a quick pick-me-up read 40-50 because it’s bound to help
  • If you are just curious, read #1 and it will invite you to read more
  • If you want to be surprised, read numbers 13, 18, 21 and 28
  • If you are feeling scared, insecure, confused, alone or in need, read 12, 13, 17, 23, 24, 30, 31, 37, 40, 41 and 47
  • If you’re having a bad day read 25-50, then say thanks to God.
  • If your world is crumbling before your teary eyes, read 1-50, then say a prayer.

Listed in Biblical order:
  1. God is a consuming fire – De 4:24
  2. God is a merciful God – De 4:31
  3. God is God of gods and Lord of lords – De 10:17
  4. God is with you – 1 Sam 10:7
  5. God is exalted in his power. – Job 36:22
  6. God is a righteous judge – Ps 7:11
  7. God is my rock – Ps 18:2
  8. God is our refuge and strength – Ps 46:1
  9. God is the King of all the earth – Ps 47:7
  10. God is seated on His holy throne. – Ps 47:8
  11. God is our God for ever and ever – Ps 48:14
  12. God is my help – Ps 54:4
  13. God is for me – Ps 56:9
  14. God is steadfast – Ps 57:7
  15. God is our refuge – Ps 62:8
  16. God is a God who saves – Ps 68:20
  17. God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever – Psalm 73:26
  18. God is a sun and shield – Ps 84:11
  19. God is holy – Ps 99:9
  20. God is in heaven – Ps 115:3
  21. God is full of passion – Ps 116:5
  22. God is flawless – Pr 30:5
  23. God is with us – Is 8:10
  24. God is my salvation – Is 12:2
  25. God is the God of gods – Dan 2:47
  26. God is merciful and forgiving- Dan 9:9
  27. God is righteous in everything He does – Dan 9:14
  28. God is the watchman – Hos 9:8
  29. God is one and there is no other but him – Mk 12:32
  30. God is in your midst – Lk 17:21
  31. God is near – Lk 21:31
  32. God is truthful – Jn 3:33
  33. God is spirit – Jn 4:24
  34. God is the bread that comes down from heaven – Jn 6:33
  35. God is revealed – Ro 1:17
  36. God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord – Ro 6:23
  37. God is for us, who can be against us? – Ro 8:31
  38. God is faithful – 1 Cor 1:9
  39. God is stronger than human strength – 1 Cor 1:25
  40. God is really among you – 1 Cor 14:25
  41. God is able to bless you abundantly – 2 Cor 9:8
  42. God is one – Gal 3:20
  43. God is coming – Col 3:6
  44. God is our witness – Thes 2:5
  45. God is just – 2 Thes 1:6
  46. God is the builder of everything – Heb 3:4
  47. God is treating you as His children – Heb 12:7
  48. God is pleased – Heb 13:16
  49. God is light – 1 Jn 1:5
  50. God is love – 1 Jn 4:8

More on Applying Scripture to Your Life – Click Here!

A Better Savior

IMG_9431

More Poetry from Steve Brown

A Better Savior
Inspired by the the book of Hebrews, by the Holy Spirit, and Pastor Michael Zarling

The best Savior, Jesus is He
The best Leader, The root of Jesse

The best covenant, His pact is key
The best tabernacle
Worshiping in spirit and truth; can we all agree?

The best mediator, The one appointee
The best focus, The man hung on the tree

The best access, Through the trinity three
The best sympathizer, For all sinners to see

The best resurrection, Now He is free
The best Savior, For you, for me.

A Toolbox for Worship Leaders, Pastors and Musicians

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