Coram Deo ~

Looking at contemporary culture from a Christian worldview


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New and Upcoming Albums I’m Excited About

I love music in a number of different genres, including contemporary Christian music, Christian hip-hop/rap, worship and classic rock. Here are 8 new and upcoming albums that I’m excited about.

 

A Great Adventure – Steven Curtis Chapman  
The latest project from Steven Curtis Chapman, arriving less than two months after his Deeper Roots: Where the Bluegrass Grows album, comes in both a DVD and audio recording format, filmed and recorded at the Gaither Studios in Alexandria, Indiana. The album chronicles Chapman’s life in song through live solo acoustic performances of some of his most popular songs, but no between song comments. Chapman has toured extensively performing solo concerts the past few years, and is very comfortable performing his songs backed only with his acoustic guitar. Listening to these songs, originally released between 1987 and 2018, reminds the listener of the blessing his music has been for more than thirty years now. Continue reading

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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

Deeper Roots: Where The Bluegrass Grows – Steven Curtis Chapman
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In 2013, five-time Grammy winner Steven Curtis Chapman released Deep Roots, an album which featured 12 songs, 5 of which are available on the new Deeper Roots: Where The Bluegrass Grows, released on Chapman’s own New Day distributed-SCSee label. Both albums represent a return to bluegrass, Chapman’s musical roots.
In addition to the 5 songs from Deep Roots, the new album contains eight other songs. The album is comprised of a mixture of well-loved hymns, new versions of Chapman favorites and two new songs. Chapman is joined by Ricky Skaggs, Rascal Flatt’s Gary LeVox and family members on the album, which was produced by Chapman and Brent Milligan.
Below are a few comments about each of the songs:

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review and reviews of The Eclipse Sessions by John Hiatt, and In the Blue Light by Paul Simon
  • Music News
  • Music Quotes
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS


Never Fold by Tedashii
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Never Fold is the fifth studio album from Tedashii. The 17-song, 54-minute album is his follow-up to his excellent 2016 EP This Time Around and is his first full-length album since 2014’s Below Paradise. He did release a few songs in 2017 and 2018 that are not included here (“Way Up”, “Messenger” and “Splash”, though a revised version of the latter song is included), and two that are, “Gotta Live” (featuring Jordan Feliz) and “Smile”. It’s been way too long since we got a new full-length album from Tedashii, but the wait has definitely been worth it. The album features a number of special guests, among them Lecrae, Trip Lee and Crowder, and he uses multiple songwriters and producers. Never fold and the pain of losing his son Chase are themes that show up throughout the album.
My favorite songs are “God Flex”, “Get Out My Way” and “Gotta Live”. Here are a few comments about each song on the album.

Click on ‘Continue reading’ for:

  • More of this review; a review of AWAKEN: The Surrounded Experience by Michael W. Smith and Holy Roar: Live from Church by Chris Tomlin
  • Music News
  • Music Quotes
  • Song of the Week Lyrics

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BOOK REVIEW: Between Heaven and the Real World: My Story by Steven Curtis Chapman with Ken Abraham

BOOK REVIEW:  Between Heaven and the Real World: My Story by Steven Curtis Chapman with Ken Abraham. Revell. 448 pages. 2017
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Steven Curtis Chapman has been one of the most successful Contemporary Christian Music artists, with 11 million records sold and 48 #1 Christian radio songs. He and his wife Mary Beth have also experienced the loss of a child, of which he writes that 95% of marriages don’t survive.  In this book, Chapman takes the reader on a journey of God’s grace and His faithfulness through the mountains and valleys of his life. Throughout the book he is very open about the struggles he and Mary Beth have experienced in marriage, serving as a testament to others that marriage is worth fighting for and persevering in.
The now 54-year-old Chapman was born in Paducah, Kentucky. He has one brother (Herbie) who was actually conceived before his parents were married. His parents struggled early in their marriage and decided to have another child (Steven) to try to help their marriage. Chapman’s parents would eventually divorce.
Although Steven has a very good relationship with his father, he writes of words that his father spoke to him when Steven broke the pool skimmer, that still damage him today.
A revival at their church was an important time in the Chapman’s lives as his father and brother Herbie confessed Christ and Mom rededicated her life. A few months later, at age 8, Steven confessed Christ.
The first song he wrote was based on Jesus’ parable of the talents. Dallas Holm was an early influence. Early on, he would often play music with brother Herbie as the Chapman Brothers. Herbie was the better singer and was the lead, with Steven on guitar. He would eventually get a publishing deal with Bill Gaither, and had his songs recorded by the Imperials, White Heart and Sandi Patti.
He met his future wife Mary Beth Chapman, while they were both at Anderson College, where they shared a mailbox. On their first date, he showed up two hours late because a concert he was giving ran late. When he did show up, he greeted her with a big kiss.
Throughout the book, Chapman is open and transparent about his and Mary Beth’s struggles in marriage. She was used to order and structure growing up, and his life as a musician was anything but that. Mary Beth would become pregnant 8 months into their marriage.
He recorded First Hand, his first album in 1987 and his first single was “Weak Days”. His first number one song was “His Eyes”.
Many of Chapman’s songs come from his real-life experiences and God’s grace. He wrote “I Will Be There” for Mary Beth around the time of his parents’ divorce.
As success (awards, sales, etc.) continued to come, Chapman was conflicted between the adulation he received and ministry.
He writes of Mary Beth’s depression and the positive influence in his life of his pastor Scotty Smith and best friend and fellow music artist Geoff Moore.
The Chapmans would adopt three girls from China to go along with their three biological children.  They would later begin an adoption ministry Show Hope.
He writes of the night and circumstances in which he wrote his classic song “Cinderella” about his daughters.
He writes of daughter Maria wanting to go to God’s Big, Big House (after learning the song by Audio Adrenaline in school). She and her sister Stevie Joy professed faith in Christ at age 4 on February 20, 2008. Just three months later, Maria would die after an accident that took place in the driveway of the family home on May 21. Chapman writes of the dark days that followed Maria’s death for the family, including marriage counseling from Larry Crabb and Dan Allender. Later, they would introduce Maria’s Big House of Hope, a medical care center in China that provides health care to orphans with special needs.
Chapman’s story is one of God’s grace in his life through the good times and the dark times. This is a powerful read, certainly difficult at times, but one that I highly recommend.


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FAITH AND WORK: Connecting Sunday to Monday

Faith and Work News ~ Links to Interesting Articles

REAL-LIFE EXAMPLES:

  • What’s the Difference Between American Apparel and Chick-fil-A? Bethany Jenkins writes “Both companies want to provide fair wages to their employees and be transparent in their dealings. But Chick-fil-A’s leadership wants “to glorify God” in everything they do—from how they treat their customers to how they cook their food.”
  • Ministering from Behind the Barber’s Chair. Jason Cook interviews Thomas “Tick” Campbell a barber in Oxford, Mississippi about how he integrates his faith and work.
  • Living for More than Sunday’s Game. Jason Cook interviews Cedric Peerman, who played in the National Football League (NFL) for nine years and is currently with the Cincinnati Bengals, about how he integrates his faith and work.
  • Coding for the Kingdom. Timoteo Sazointerviews Adam Murray, a senior web developer for World Vision and associate pastor of Priest Lake Christian Fellowship in Nashville, Tennessee, about how he integrates his faith and work.
  • When a Gospel Conversation Finds You. Bethany Jenkins interviews Regina Robinson, dean of student affairs at Cambridge College and co-founder of Heart Change Fellowship, about how she integrates her faith and work.
  • Evangelism Lessons from Dr. Walt Larimore. Bill Peel writes “Here are some of the most important things I’ve learned from my friend, Dr. Larimore, about bringing faith conversations into a medical practice that are applicable to any workplace.”

  • Tim Keller’s 4 Ways the Gospel Transforms Work. Tim Keller started thinking deeply about a Christian view of work when a member of his congregation met with him to ask what it meant to be a Christian actor. Over years of thinking and teaching on work, Keller has observed four ways the gospel can transform work. Listen to Keller unpack these principles (and share a fifth as a bonus) to an audience at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, on November 8, 2016. A time of questions and answers follows the talk.
  • An Evening with Christian Wiman. “What is it we want when we can’t stop wanting? I say God.” Such core revelations are what comprise the latest work of world-renowned poet Christian Wiman. The intermingling of calling and desire, the inhering of the self in our work, the catalyzing hunger of longing — these tensions form the high-wire of meditation that Wiman treads. Hear this critically acclaimed poet investigate the ineffable essence of God’s calling in our daily lives in his brand new work, presented for the very first time, commissioned under the Center for Faith and Work’s inaugural Artist Fellowship. Watch the 47-minute video.
  • Neither Snobbish Nor Super-Spiritual About Work. William Taylor writes “Realizing all jobs are dignified should profoundly influence how we view ourselves and the position in which God has placed us. Indeed, it will influence what kind of work we’re prepared to do for the gospel’s sake.”
  • The Uniqueness of Christian Service. David Wells writes “Christian service is unique for three reasons. First, it is unique in its source. That source is our redemption in Christ. Second, it is unique in its objective, which is to model, as far as is possible, Christ’s kind of servanthood. Third, it is unique in its character, for it is motivated by God’s holy-love.”
  • The Christ-Centered Employee. Paul Tautges writes “Knowing that we ultimately work for the Lord is what will keep us working for the glory of God, both in spirit and performance. As we honor and submit to our earthly masters, God will be glorified in the workplace.”

Continue reading for more links on Leadership – inside & outside the church and Practical Ideas; Top 10 Faith & Work Quotes of the Week; A review of Ken Costa’s book, “Know Your Why”; and to follow along with our Faith & Work Book Clubs!

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MUSIC REVIEWS and NEWS

Worship and BelieveWorship and Believe (Deluxe Edition) – Steven Curtis Chapman  
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This is Steven Curtis Chapman’s 23rd studio album and the first worship album in his wonderful career that to date has resulted in 10 million albums sold, 46 Christian radio number one songs, 5 Grammy Awards and an incredible 58 Dove Awards. The album is available in three different formats, the standard edition with eleven studio songs, and deluxe editions including either four or six of the songs recorded live.  I think worship music sounds good in a live format, but you’ll have to decide if the live versions are worth the additional cost.

It was when Chapman was on The Story tour with Pastor Randy Frazee that he first heard about BELIEVE, a 30-week church curriculum that Frazee was working on as the follow-up to The Story. Chapman wrote these songs to accompany the BELIEVE curriculum to be used by thousands of churches, but the songs certainly stand on their own as a worthy addition to Chapman’s outstanding body of work.

Chapman collaborates with some of the best artists in the worship music genre – Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman and Matt Maher, as well as Rend Collective and the drummer for One Direction. Long-time fans will enjoy his signature sounds in these songs addressed to God that I’m sure are already starting to appear in congregational worship.

Below are a few brief comment on each of the new songs:

We Believe – starts with acoustic guitar as Chapman sings of creation praising the glory of God. It builds into a bold song that will sound great in congregational worship.

One True God – a highlight, this track features Chris Tomlin in a song that would comfortably fit on a Tomlin release, as the two artists trade verses in a wonderful song about Christ as the one true God.

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