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Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Blessings and The Hallelujah Chorus

A blessed Easter to all. We serve a living Savior. Because He lives I can face tomorrow. And because He lives, we, too, shall live.

I can find no other piece of music more appropriate for this day than "The Hallelujah Chorus" from Handel's "Messiah." And I can find no better rendition of the piece than that which was performed by Eugene Ormandy and the Philadelphia Orchestra, along with the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.

I like the video of this in particular because it provides a black and white photo of Ormandy, known as "the little maestro," in action, conducting the orchestra as no other. He was a genius, a child prodigy who grew up to conduct what became known as the finest orchestra on earth, the Philadelphia Orchestra.

Here you will hear what became known as "the Philadelphia Sound," which Ormandy perfected, that emphasized the smooth woodwinds and violins, violas, and cellos, and when he used brass he chose to smooth out the sound with the use of the horn muffle, called "the trumpet mute," so as to minimize the shrillness that often accompanies brass instruments. The result is a velvety balanced musical experience that is as near perfection as humans can achieve.

The tradition is that the audience stands while the Hallelujah Chorus is presented. This is in homage to the fact that upon hearing the piece for the first time, King George II was so moved emotionally that he rose to his feet. And when the King stands, everyone must stand.

So, here is my Easter gift to you. The great Eugene Ormandy conducting the great George Frederick Handel's "The Hallelujah Chorus." Enjoy, and God bless!

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Good Friday, 2013

Good Friday is one of the two holiest days in Christianity, the other being Easter Sunday. As beautiful and meaningful as Christmas can be when we focus on the birth of Christ, even that does not begin to approach the sacredness of Christ's crucifixion on a Roman cross on Good Friday, and his subsequent resurrection from the dead on Easter.

I can only say I am overwhelmed by it all. Sometimes it is just too sacred, too holy for words. During those times, I turn to music. The video below captures the meaning of Good Friday in song. Please listen to it. It is a thing of beauty, featuring one of the finest lead singers in the business, Josh Garner, along with the rest of the Florida Boys. It's titled, "For God So Loved."

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Had to share this...

I just had to share this with you. Danny Funderburke, the powerful tenor featured on this Cathedral Quartet video, was my favorite tenor of all of the ones the Cathedrals had in their history. In fact, this lineup was my favorite ever--Funderburke, Mark Trammell on baritone, Glen Payne on lead, George Younce on bass, and Roger Bennett on piano. This is one of Danny's many signature songs he had while with the Cathedrals. And man, I mean he sings the fire outta this song! Note how the old men -- Glen and George -- can hardly contain themselves. Danny was DA MAN! And this song says it like I like it. I just started living. Amen!

In case you can't access the embedded vid above, go straight to the YouTube posting here.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Hello, and I hope you are having a blessed season of Lent

Hi there. Just a quick word to say hello. It's been a while since we last talked, but it's been super busy around here.

Lent is in full swing as we lead up to the commemoration of Christ's death on the Cross and his Resurrection from the dead on Easter Sunday.

Many churches do not recognize Lent, but they do emphasize the importance of the Cross in their belief system. Without the shame and suffering and death of the Cross, there would be no resurrection, and there would be no Christianity.

These matters are central to the Christian faith. And the invitation to you is, "Come." The door stands open for you and anyone who wishes to accept Christ as the Lord and Savior of your life.

But how does one become a Christian?

First, you must recognize you are a sinner and stand in need of forgiveness. The Bible says "For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God." The result of our sins is guilt, shame, death, and more tragically spiritual and eternal "death" or separation from God.

Second, you must recognize that Christ is the only remedy for your spiritual condition, and the only means of salvation. We are not saved by our good works, by joining a church, or by trying to be a good person. We are saved through Christ alone. Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, came to earth as a man, taught, preached, and healed, died on the Cross in our place, and then was resurrected from the dead. The suffering and death of the Cross was rightfully mine and yours because that is the penalty for our disobedience to God. But Christ became our substitute, paying the penalty for our sins, which is suffering and death. When you believe and accept Christ's substitutionary work for you on the Cross, your sins are forgiven, your past is wiped clean, you are made whole, and you are given a new life and a home in heaven.

Third, you must be willing to turn from your sins and follow Christ as the Lord of your life. Turning from your sins does not mean you will be perfect. Nobody will ever be perfect until they get to heaven. But the key is willingness -- the willingness to allow God to give you strength as you try to avoid your sins and walk as Christ would have you walk. A true disciple of Christ is one who is willing to be obedient to Christ, walking with Him through life.

Next, you must invite Christ into your life, allowing Him to set up residence in your heart and soul, and proactively turning your life over to Him.

Finally, it is important to make your decision to follow Christ in a public fashion. There is no such thing as a "private' Christian. You will want to inform your friends and family, at the appropriate time, that you are now a Christian. And you will want to find a church where the Gospel is preached that you can be part of. Tell the Pastor what has happened to you, and he will tell you what you need to do to become a part of that church fellowship.

The Bible says, "If you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the death, you shall be saved."

And that is a promise.

Make your decision for Christ today. It is the most important thing you will ever do.

Until next time, God bless, and I'll see you out there somewhere at a Gospel music program.