All posts filed under: Music

Dennis Quaid singing Credit: allenmock/Flickr/Creative Commons

Dennis Quaid says renewing his faith in Christ includes forgiving himself

Dennis Quaid, 64, has been another of my favorite Hollywood actors. I didn’t know he was a Christian and was surprised to see him in the Christian movie, I Can Only Imagine where he plays the role of Arthur Millard, the abusive father of Bart Millard, the lead singer for the Gospel group Mercy Me. Millard is best known for the Christian hit song “I Can Only Imagine” that was birthed in the difficult reconciliation that took place between Bart and his father. The movie has been a tremendous success with a budget of only $7 million it has earned over $84 million since its release. Quaid has starred in several movies including the Parent Trap, The Rookie and the Soul Surfer. He is playing Ronald Reagan in the upcoming biopic on the famed US president. Quaid is also a musician and is actually the lead singer in a band call the Sharks. And when asked to join the movie, I Can Only Imagine, Quaid told them about a Gospel song he had started writing …

Katy Perry in her 2018 Witness tour Credit: Giorgio Erriquez/Flickr/Creative Commons

In an interview with ‘Vogue Australia’ Katy Perry says she never left God

In a recent cover interview with Vogue Australia, pop sensation Katy Perry had more to say about her Christian faith. Katy’s parents, Keith and Mary Hudson, are both Pentecostal evangelists, and as their talented daughter became involved in music, Katy sang gospel and even released a gospel album. However, as she moved into secular music, Katy seemed to walk away from her faith. She admitted in the interview that her mother was praying that her daughter would come back to God. In response Katy said that she never “left Him, I was just a little bit secular. I was more materialistic and more career driven.” Now in her 30s, Katy said there are changes taking place in her life stating “it’s more about spirituality and heart wholeness.” And we have seen hints of this spirituality popping through on social media as Katy shared Christian messages on Instagram Over Easter, she shared an Instagram post of a rainbow over her Jesus tattoo with the words: ”My brokeness + God’s Divinity = My wholeness” written beneath the image. …

Credit: Joe Bustillos/Flickr/Creative Commons

Is God beginning to move in the music industry?

A couple of different stories caught my attention this past week, though unrelated, they both have a God connection. The first involved an article on Christian Post (CP) about this year’s American Idol where the final five performers in the singing competition are all Christians. And they are anointed as well and this is not just my opinion, but that of the American Idol judges. Though Michael Woodward did not move on to the final three, his song “Still I Arise” very much affected the judges. Pop superstar Katy Perry who was in tears before Woodward’s song was finished said, “I mean, you’re anointed. I thought I had my emotions removed. It’s so beautiful what I just saw between you and your mother.” Fellow judge Lionel Ritchie echoed the comments added, “You are anointed, my friend.” Woodward comes from a Christian home where his grandmother and mother both impacted him spiritually. According to CP, his mother, Wanda, has a Christian program that she broadcasts weekly live on Facebook.  And his grandmother raised Michael on Gospel …

Freshwind Band at Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in March 2008 where the Toronto Revival broke out. Source: andrewgazaneo artwork by Sarah M Gazeno/Wikipedia/Creative Commons

Justin Bieber’s mom Pattie Mallette ‘Travailing in the Spirit’?

Pattie Mallette may not be a familiar name to most of us, but her pop star son, Justin Bieber, is a household name in many parts of the world. In earlier articles, I have written about the remarkable spiritual transformation taking place in Justin’s life. Dale Hurd writing for Christ for All Nations tells the story about Pattie’s spiritual journey. Incredibly, it started at the Toronto revival, also called the Toronto Blessing, that broke out in a Vineyard Church in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in January 1994. The church originally called Toronto Airport Christian Fellowship has since been renamed Catch the Fire Toronto and is pastored by John and Carol Arnott. Pattie shared her journey to faith at the 2018 Light the Fire Again conference held at the same building, the Attwell Center, where the Toronto revival broke out. In the early 1990s, Pattie became a Christian in a hospital room shortly after a failed suicide attempt. She was led to the Lord and mentored by a couple who attended the Vineyard church where the revival …

Justin Bieber in concert at the Telenor Arena in Oslo, Norway in 2013. Credit: NRK P3/Flickr/Creative Commons

Sources say Justin Bieber planning to release faith-inspired album in 2019

It has been an interesting April on the celebrity front. On Easter Sunday, pop star Katy Perry posted the following message to her 69 million Instagram followers: “My brokenness + God’s Divinity = My wholeness.” Then earlier this week, Monday, April 9, 2018, Canadian pop sensation Justin Bieber spontaneously sang a Christian worship song for his 98 million Instagram followers. It was a song called “Reckless Love” written by Bethel music leader Corey Asbury: “Oh, the overwhelming, never-ending reckless love of God. Oh, it chases me down, fights till I’m found” At the latest count, Justin has 98.5 million Instagram followers putting him on the list of the ten most followed people on the popular social media site. Leading the pack is another celebrity believer, Selena Gomez, with 133 million followers. And when I visited Justin’s Instagram page, there was a message to check out this song on YouTube: But recent reports are suggesting that Justin is planning to become even more vocal about how Jesus transformed the pop star’s life. The British newspaper The …

Katy Perry Credit: ONU Brazil/Flickr/Creative Commons

Is Katy Perry’s heart softening towards God?

American pop star Katy Perry posted an interesting Christian message to her 69 million Instagram followers on Easter Sunday. She also works as a judge on the new American Idol show. She not only highlighted her Jesus tattoo, that she has had for years, with special lighting, Katy also added the words: “My brokenness + God’s Divinity = My wholeness.” As some may know, Katy has a Christian background. Her parents, Maurice and Mary (née Perry) Hudson, are Pentecostal pastors. Katy’s birth name was Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson. As a girl, she even spoke in tongues after being filled with the Holy Spirit and with her natural singing ability Katy sang gospel in church.  She hoped to move full-time into gospel music but that ultimately transformed into secular. Below is a Gospel song that Katy Perry (then Katy Hudson), sang on the Christian broadcast network, TBN, in 2002: The relationship with her parents has been strained as she rejected her parent’s faith. In 2008, she wrote a song, I Kissed a Girl, that topped the pop chart …

Alice Cooper performing at Alexandra Palace in London, England 2011 Credit: Kimon Froussios/Flickr/Creative Commons

Alice Cooper, ‘shock’ rock star and Christian

If there was anyone who I thought would never become a Christian, rock star Alice Cooper, 70, would have been on that list. Yet 40 years ago Cooper got a wake-up call when after bingeing on alcohol he started throwing up blood. During his heyday that featured such mega hits as “Schools out,” he was known as the “Godfather of Shock Rock.” His stage shows took on horror show themes including fake blood, guillotines, electric chairs, snakes and tortured baby dolls. But today Cooper publicly states he has embraced Christ and is preparing to play the role of Herod in NBC’s live version of the musical Jesus Christ Superstar. In an interview with New York Daily’s Confidential, Cooper recalled his decision to become a Christian. He came from a Christian background, his grandfather was an evangelist and his dad a pastor and after leaving home, Cooper fled Christianity. But he was drinking buddies with other famous rock stars of the day such as Jimmy Hendrix and Jim Morrison of the Doors both who died at …

Casas colgadas de Cuenca, Spain Credit: Jose Luis Mieza/Flickr/Creative Commons

Spain’s song at Eurovision written by two Evangelical Christians

Eurovision is an international singing contest held annually in Europe. It started in 1973 and features winners from participating European countries who hold national competitions to select their representative. It differs from North American singing competitions like The Voice in that participants must sing an original song. But it doesn’t have to be written by the people singing it. In fact, the major emphasis seems to be the song over the performers, though obviously they need to be talented as well. With a growing Evangelical population, Spain will be represented at this year’s competition with a song written by two Evangelical Christians, Sylvia Santoro and her nephew Raul Gomez. Sylvia wrote the words and Raul supplied the music. The love song entitled, Tu Canción, won the Spanish leg of the event with 43% of the vote, beating out eight competitors. It was sung by a group called Almaia, composed of two singers Amaia and Alfred. So far the song has over 750,000 views on YouTube. Married with two children, Sylvia is a popular gospel singer among …

Andrea Bocelli singing at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in 2015 Credit: World Economic Forum/Flickr/Creative Commons

Singing sensation Andrea Bocelli nearly aborted

The Grammy Awards are held annually by The Recording Academy to honor singing achievements primarily in the English-speaking world. This year’s awards were held in New York’s Madison Square Gardens on January 28th and some described it as more political than musical. This may explain why its ratings are down 24% over the last year. Aside from the singing awards, one of the highlights of these type of events are the dresses and suits worn by celebrities. This year was no different. But the one that seems to have gained the spot light, was an anti-abortion dress worn by American singer and song writer Joy Villa. On her dress she painted an image of a baby in the womb and her handbag had the word “choose life” written on it. In an interview with Foxnews, Villa said she was honoring her decision to give up a child for adoption when she was 21, during a crisis pregnancy. Villa added that the image was “a painting of my daughter when I was eight months pregnant.” When …

Justin Bieber at Telenor Arena in Bærum, Norway in 2016 Credit: NRK P3/Flickr/Creative Commons

Justin Bieber’s faith-inspired Instagram post received over 2.2-million likes

Canadian pop star Justin Bieber has 95-million followers on Instagram and recently he shared a message with them on his personal faith in Christ. The 23-year-old pop star took a photo of a white erase board on which he wrote a message with a black marker: “Do you feel you have exausted all options? Do you feel like you’re never good enough? What if I told you that there is a god that’s willing to meet you WHEREVER you’re at! What if I told you that he could take away your pain, shame, guit, and fears #Jesus.” The photo caption read simply “Jesus is changing me from the inside out every day! AND I MISSPELLED GUILT and exhausted.” Despite the typos and as someone pointed out maybe “god” should be capitalized, it was a heartfelt message. I loved the way it was hand written including even the typos because this showed it was real. Over 2.2 million, mostly young people, liked the post and 52 thousand commented. Not all the comments were positive, but the majority …

NF (rapper) Credit: YouTube Capture/Napster

Christian Rapper tops the US Billboard chart in October

Going by the stage name NF, Nathan John Feuerstein, 26, is a Christian rapper and hip-hop artist who topped the Billboard Chart in October. For an entire week, his album, Perception, was the top selling album in America, Christian or secular. Since his debut in 2010, Nathan has released four albums. His first entitled Moments was released in 2012 under the name Nathan Feuerstein. Since then, he has released three more albums under the stage-name NF that included Mansion in 2015. He released Therapy Session in 2016 which won a Dove Award for top hip hop album of the year. It was also the top-selling Christian Album and top US rap album in 2016 and overall it was the 12th best-selling album in the US that year. A song from the album, “Oh Lord,” (which you can hear below) won the 2017 Dove Award for top Hip Hop song. It has had quite an impact. Here is just a sampling of the YouTube comments from the song: It’s Just Kayla This song pushes me to tears …

(Left to Right) Chris Pratt Credit: Mingle Media TV/Wikipedia; Justin Bieber Credit: Lou Stejskal/Wikipedia; Kourteny Kardashian credit: © Glenn Francis, www.PacificProDigital.com

What do Chris Pratt, Justin Bieber and Kourteny Kardashian have in common?

For many they are household names. All three have fame and money in movies, singing and TV respectively. Chris Pratt, 38, is a movie star with leading roles in Guardians of the Galaxy and one of my favorites Jurassic World that earned $1.6 billion world wide. He is also starring in the soon to be released Avengers: Infinity War Canadian born Justin Bieber, 23, is one of the most popular pop singers in the world. He has 102 million followers on Twitter, nearly 92 million followers on Instagram. and his Facebook page has close to 79 million likes. TV reality star Kourteny Kardashian, 38, stars in Keeping Up with the Kardashians — one of the longest running reality shows in the US. She and her sisters have also started successful clothing and perfume lines. And though fame is certainly one common denominator, according to the Daily Mail, they have one more thing in common, all three were recently seen attending the same church service at Hillsong in Los Angeles. Originating in Australia, Hillsong is renown …

Watch Gospel music ring out at Hurricane Harvey rescue shelter

Gospel singer Victoria White and others entertained people taking shelter from Hurricane Harvey in the Lone Star Convention and Expo Center in Conroe, Texas, north of Houston. The song was videoed by volunteer Joni Villemez-Commeaux. White works as an admission counselor at Sam Houston State University. She was ministering with Outreach Missions who was raising support for the victims of Harvey. White’s powerful voice emanated in the hall as others joined the singing. So far the video posted on Facebook has been viewed over 12 million times. The death toll for the storm is now nearing 40 and includes the rescue of 13,000 people trapped by the rapidly rising waters that hit Houston and area. Sources: Lifting spirits: Texas woman breaks out into incredible gospel performance inside Hurricane Harvey shelter: Daily Mail Watch: Spontaneous Gospel singing fills Harvey evacuation shelter: Breitbart

Dennis Prager speaking at CPAC 2016 in National Harbor, Maryland Credit: Gage Skidmore/Wikipedia

Political left calls for a boycott of conservative music?

Dennis Prager is a conservative columnist, author, talk-show host (nationally syndicated) and speaker based in California. The Santa Monica Symphony Orchestra (SMSO) recently invited Prager to be a guest conductor for a benefit program to be held August 16 at the Walt Disney Concert Halls, in Santa Monica California. Many consider it one of the premium venues in the country. Prager has studied classical music for decades and has been a guest conductor for several orchestras including the Los Angeles Philharmonic and the Pasadena Lyric Opera. Prager, an orthodox Jew, will be conducting one composition —  Hayden’s Symphony No 51. During past performances, Prager liked to show how the music is put together and often breaks down the symphony section by section to let people see what instruments are playing. Now it is important to understand that Prager will not be speaking at the event, only conducting. Nevertheless three members of the SMSO were so appalled that a conservative person would be conducting the orchestra, that a month ago they wrote a letter calling for …

Pop star Katy Perry reconciling with her Christian parents: Is God next?

Mega pop star Katy Perry, 33, made some interesting statements in her interview with Dr. Siri Singh, on Viceland’s program The Therapist that aired the weekend of June 10, 2017. According to the Christian Post (CP), in the interview Katy talked about the pressures involved with being the pop star Katy Perry instead of who she really was Katherine Hudson. She expressed a desire of being her “authentic self.” But what I also found interesting is Katy’s discussion about God and her parents. Katy’s parents, Maurice and Mary (née Perry) Hudson, are Pentecostal pastors. As a child Katy accepted Christ. She was even filled with the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. As a teenager, she sang gospel music and initially tried to make a career singing gospel. But today as one of the world’s top pop stars, for the most part Katy has rejected her parent’s Christian faith. But I saw signs in the interview that there is potential for things to change. First Katy talked about having suicidal thoughts after breaking up with …

Credit: Justin/Flickr/Creative Commons

Come-back Singers

Michael Jackson was just 50 years old when he died June 25, 2009. While no one will deny the man’s God-given talent for song and dance which was displayed in his early years, there are many questions surrounding his bizarre behavior in the second half of his life. The day of Michael Jackson’s death, I attended a weekly worship and prayer meeting where one spirit-filled Believer stated that she had been thinking about all the ‘old’ singers who have started touring again. Since many things in life begin with the natural (I Cor. 15:46) and then the spiritual, she wondered what implications this resurfacing of old musicians might have in the spiritual realm. Michael Jackson, as so many legendary acts like “The Eagles” and “The Rolling Stones,” wanted to make a come-back into the entertainment world. But as a believer that Jesus Christ is the King of Kings and the only one to be worshiped, I have to wonder if any person who claims himself to be the King of the music world will be …

Credit: rachelakelso/Flickr/Creative Commons

God Sings Over Us

The Greatest Singer/Songwriter “The LORD thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing” (Zephaniah 3:17). Like many of his prophetic counterparts, Zephaniah uncovered the great truth that our great LORD is a God who rejoices over His people. Not only is this a God who sings over His people but He is also a songwriter. Isaiah, the prophet who’s writings are literary wonders also recognized that our beloved Bridegroom has a song which He makes known to His bride. “Now will I sing to my beloved a song of my beloved touching his vineyard”(Isaiah 5:1a). “…and as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee” (Isaiah 62:5b) In Psalm 42:8b, the Psalmist tells us, “…and in the night his song shall be with me…” Scripture based Songs In my early years as a Christian, most churches sang scripture songs which I discovered was an easy way …

Credit: pixlars/Flickr/Creative Commons

Sound – The prerequisite to Music

While music is a huge industry, very few singers and musicians take the time to learn about sound, the prerequisite to music.  While the term “sounds of heaven” is often quoted in Churches, most Christians are clueless as to the true meaning of that phrase. If music ministers don’t understand God’s purpose for sound, they will not be adequately prepared for the battle. As the Apostle Paul wrote in a letter to the church at Corinth, when discussing the gifts of the Holy Spirit: “Even things without life, whether flute or harp, when they make a sound, unless they make a distinction in the sounds, how will it be known what is piped or played? For if the trumpet makes an uncertain sound, who will prepare himself for battle?”(I Cor. 14:7-8) Sound and Light Vibrations In the beginning God spoke (sound) and said, “Let there be light and there was light” (Genesis 1:3). This sound and light was the release of the Creator’s Glory since it was another three days before He created the sun …

Eurasian Wren singing (you can hear their song at the end of the article) Credit: Pieter van Marion/Flickr/Creative Commons

Birds teach us about songs

Birds Sing at Certain Times It is recognized that there is a time for the singing of birds and their songs communicate different messages.  King Solomon recognized this truth and even sang about it. The flowers appear on the earth; the time of the singing of birds is come…” (Song of Solomon 2:12). It appears that the Psalmist realized the power in song when he wrote; “I will sing to the LORD as long as I live; I will sing praise to my God while I have my being.” (Psalm 104:33) Singing at Dawn The best time to hear bird songs is at dawn when birds all over the world demonstrate their greatest amount of singing activity.  With little wind and less disturbances, sound travels the best in the early morning.  Songs which are broadcast at dawn can be twenty times as effective as those broadcast at midday. However, with so many variety of birds competing for the same audience, they have a remarkable knack of sharing the stage. Mankind also is encouraged to worship …

Award Credit: Youtube capture/The Recording Academy

A grandmother’s prayer leads to Chance the Rapper’s worship service at the Grammys

At the 59th Grammy Awards held Sunday, February 12, 2017, Chance the Rapper won three Grammys. The Grammy Awards are put on by The Recording Academy to honor outstanding achievement in music recording primarily in the English-speaking world. Chance the Rapper who recently became a Christian received “Best New Artist,” Best Rap Album” and “Best Rap Performance” at this year’s awards. He was nominated for seven in total for his recent 14-song album The Coloring Book. Five of the album’s songs have a significant Christian theme that marked the remarkable spiritual transformation that has taken place in the life of Chance the Rapper. In a radio interview he shared what happened. His grandmother saw him while he was performing on his Acid Rap tour — the name reveals where he was at spiritually — and she began to pray for her grandson. Chance the Rapper said: “One day during my Acid Rap tour, my grandmther saw me and began to pray. She said ‘I break off anything in your life that is not God.’ After …

Reba McEntire in concert Credit: Alisha Morgan/Flickr/Creative Commons

Country superstar Reba McEntire produces first gospel album

After divorcing her husband of 25 years, Narvel Blackstock, in 2015, country singer Reba McEntire, 61, turned to God and her faith to keep her through this difficult time. Referred to as the “Queen of Country,” Reba is one of America’s great country singers. She is a member of the Country Hall of Fame. In a career that has spanned 42 years, she has released 32 albums and sold over 85 million records world-wide and has 35 chart-topping singles. After seeking God during this dark period of her life, Reba sensed that she needed to release what would be her first Gospel album. Entitled, “Sing it Now: Songs of Faith and Hope,” the two album set features 22 Gospel recordings. Reba wants this album to encourage people to return to God. During the recording of one of the songs, How Great Thou Art, Reba felt the Holy Spirit’s anointing on the music: “When I got through with singing the song, I would go in there with Doug Sisemore, my co-producer, and Todd Tidwell. We would …

10-year-old autistic girl sings Cohen’s ‘Hallelujah’ with a Christmas twist

A 10-year-old autistic girl from Northern Ireland is wowing social media with her Youtube version of Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah.” Leonard Cohen, a Canadian song writer and singer, died on November 7, 2016 at age 82. Kayleigh Rogers attends Killard House school in Donaghadee, Northern Ireland. The school has 200 students from ages three to 16. In the song, that has since gone viral on Facebook with over 1 million views, Kayleigh leads the school’s choir in a moving rendition of the international hit. Since it was part of the Killard House’s Christmas program, the school changed the words to tell the story of Jesus’ birth. Kayleigh started school at age 7 and not only struggles with autism but ADHD as well. Though of moderate severity, they have resulted in “learning delays” for Kayleigh. In an interview with BBC, the school’s principal Colin Miller said Kaylee is normally a very shy girl, but when she begins to sing, she shines. Miller told Belfast Live: “She may only be a child but she has an amazing tone …

Justin Bieber in concert at the Chateau Neuf in Oslo, Norway Credit: NRK P3/Flickr/Creative Commons

Is pop star Justin Bieber preaching the gospel back stage at his concerts?

According to a report in the English newspaper, The Sun, Canadian pop sensation Justin Bieber is preaching the gospel as part of his “Purpose” concert tour. Sources told the paper, that Justin is holding Bible studies back stage and encouraging those in his entourage, including opening acts, to become Christians. The unnamed source said: “Backstage on his Purpose tour, Justin has been sitting down with his opening acts and encouraging them to put Christ before anything. His aim is to convert the people he loves and warn others against the evils of the industry.” The source added that since Justin became a born-again believer, his life has changed for the better and he is making “better decisions.” I previously reported on how Justin sang a popular worship song — “I could sing of your love forever” — at a concert in Paris on September 20, 2016 as part of this tour. Overall the Purpose tour has received favorable reviews. The tour started in Seattle on March 9, 2016 and Seattle Times reviewer Owen Smith wrote, …

The Singing Contractors: Facebook

‘The Singing Contractors’ unexpected climb to fame

Two general contractors working in and around Indianapolis, Indiana have taken social media by storm, not by displaying teaching videos on contracting techniques, but by singing. Aaron Gray, 39 and Josh Arnett, 40, have been friends since childhood. Today, they work as contractors — pounding a hammer. Living about an hour apart outside Indianapolis, they often work together on projects. Initially they started out singing together while they worked, but at one point they decided to record the songs on their phones. All their songs are ‘a cappella’ but often have a cathedral type sound as they sing in empty homes. Both Arnett and Gray come from Christian homes, but neither of them had sang professionally. The turning point came last year when pastor Paul Biggar joined them in singing “How Great Thou Art.” They sang it in three-part harmony in the basement of a home they were working on. They shared it on Facebook and within a few weeks the video was viewed 19 million times. Because of their almost instantaneous climb to fame, …

Michael Buble in concert Credit: jeaneeem/Flickr/Creative Commons

Michael Bublé’s family share a statement of faith about son Noah

I have a confession to make. One of my favorite performers is Canadian Jazz singer Michael Bublé, 41. I haven’t got a bucket list, but if I did — attending a Bublé concert would be on it. So, like many, I was shocked to hear Michael’s sad announcement that doctors diagnosed his son Noah, 3, with cancer. Michael and his wife, who also have a son Elias born earlier this year, initially thought Noah had the mumps. However, a visit to a doctor in Buenos Aires — later confirmed by a doctor in Los Angeles — presented the grim diagnosis of cancer. On his Facebook page, Michael and his wife Luisana Lopilato asked for prayers. “Luisana and I have put our careers on hold in order to devote all our time and attention to helping Noah get well. At this difficult time, we ask only for your prayers and respect for our privacy. We have a long journey in front of us and hope that with the support of family, friends and fans around the …

Kyiv Symphony Orchestra and Chorus Credit: Youtube capture

Birthed in suffering: The enchanting music of the Kyiv Symphony Orchestra and Chorus

A friend recently attended a performance by the Christian group Kyiv Symphony Orchestra and Chorus that is currently touring Canada. She described it was one of the most incredible events she has ever attended, Christian or secular. Oddly this group from the Ukraine, now working under Music Mission Kyiv, was not always Christian. A year after the fall of Soviet Union in December 1991, an Episcopalian church in Kiev, Ukraine invited American Christian choral director Roger McMurrin to present Handel’s Messiah. The atheistic communist government had forbid sacred music and Handel’s Messiah had not been played in the Ukraine for an estimated 70 years. After his arrival in 1992, McMurrin who had served as choral director for several churches in the US, hired a local symphony and 37 singers to put on the Christian classic. The performance had a profound impact on the people, the media and the choral group. McMurrin described the presentation as an “explosion of light.” On his flight home to America, God asked McMurrin to move back to the Ukraine, to …

Crosses near Budapest, Hungary Credit: Gyorgy Soponyai/Flickr/Creative Commons

Acts of faith in a foreign land — Naaman, Bieber and Pratt

There is a story in 2 Kings about Naaman (2 Kings 5:1-19), a general in the Aramean army. The Bible describes him as “a great man” (v 1) suggesting he was a national hero in Aram. But though a celebrity, he also had leprosy — a dreaded, disfiguring disease in that culture. Since leprosy was incurable, people were considered the living dead. But one day his servant girl, an Israelite captured during one of Naaman’s many raids, told her master about an Israeli prophet capable of curing a person of leprosy. When he tracked down the prophet, Elisha told Naaman he would be healed if he dunked himself seven times in the Jordan River. After kicking up a bit of a fuss, Naaman did as he was told and was instantly healed. Naaman offered Elisha gold and wealth for the healing, but the the prophet refused the generous gift. So instead Naaman asked Elisha for a gift. He wanted two mule loads of Israeli dirt so he could build an altar to the Lord back …

Lee University choral group wows Delta flight with an impromptu hymn

A choral group from Lee University were recently on a Delta flight and entertained the people with an amazing rendition of “I Love you Lord.” As the jet waited on the tarmac, hearing they were a choir, a flight attendant asked them to sing a song. The group that was heading on a mission trip to the British Virgin Islands gladly agreed. A person captured the song on video and posted to a Facebook page for the university’s choirs. Lee University started in 1918 as a Bible school with 12 students and one teacher. Today, it is a liberal arts college with nearly 5,000 students and a 120 acre campus. Based in Cleveland, TN, it is operated by the Church of God and is famous for its music program that includes a number of singing groups. The video that is now going viral has sparked many comments. One of my favorites speaks of the storied history of the school. It was written by a man who now pastors a Church of God  in Chesapeake, Virginia: Rodney Vickers: That’s my old choir. To think, I’m old enough to …

Laura Bretan (America's Got Talent TouTube Capture)

Romanian Pentecostal girl wows judges at ‘America’s Got Talent’ audition

Last week, Laura Bretan, 13, wowed the judges on America’s Got Talent with her rendition of Nessum Dorma (None Shall Sleep) from the opera Turandot. Laura along with her Romanian-American parents attend Elim Romanian Pentecostal Church in Chicago, Illinois. Charisma News reports her singing talent was first noticed by her mother when Laura sang along with songs in the show Snow White. By 8, Laura was singing in her church and would go on to win talent shows including the Apollo Theater amateur show. She has even sung at the annual conventions of the Romanian Pentecostal Assembly Church. During her amazing audition at America’s Got talent, she was sent through to the next round by former Spice Girl Mel B. (Melanie Janine Brown) who jumped up to push the Golden Buzzer. Each judge is allowed to put a performer through without having them go to a vote. However, that may have not been necessary as even the usually critical Simon Cowell was overwhelmed by Laura’s talent stating: “I have never heard anything like that in …

Photo: DrOjOhn/Flickr/Creative Commons

The Big Money in Hallelujah

“Let me hear a hallelujah. Can I get an amen?” Those are popular words with some people right now. I’m no music critic, but I keep hearing a country song on the radio “My Church” with those words. The song is a huge hit and it has a powerful lesson. When I first noticed this song on the radio, I thought I was hearing a gospel song, and I liked it, without knowing the words. Who listens to lyrics on the radio? I liked it enough to learn more, and it really is a song about not going to church. A young woman,  Maren Morris, finds freedom from her sins and spiritual revival by driving her old car on back roads, and listening to country songs on the radio. Back road therapy is a big thing in country music. So it’s a feel-good popular song that is slightly offensive to Christians. That makes it like most songs on the radio. In seventies talk, the powerful lesson is in the vibes and the ripoff, which is …

Justin Bieber in concert. Photo: Il Fatto Quotidiano/Flickr/Creative Commons

The ‘pop stars’ will cry out?

As Jesus road into Jerusalem on a donkey on His final trip into the fabled city, thousands of Jews gathered to watch Christ’s entrance and began crying out ‘Hosanna’ (Luke 19:28-40). But there were pharisees in the crowd, and shocked by this display of affection they yelled out to Jesus to tell His disciples to shut up (v 39). There will always be those who will try to shut believers down. They will try to intimidate and cause Christians to keep quiet. Sometimes it may even work. Turning to the pharisees in the crowd that day, Jesus replied: “I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!” (Luke 9:40 NASV) Though I know God is quite capable of making rocks cry out Christ’s name, I suspect what Jesus was really saying is that if Christians are silenced, God will have the Gospel proclaimed in unusual, unexpected and even shocking ways. Today many are trying to quiet Christians. Atheists are using the courts to force Christians to take down crosses. They are trying …

Jordan Smith singing ‘Mary, Did You Know’ WINS ‘The Voice’

Jordan Smith is a Christian and tonight he won The Voice. Last night in the finale, he sung the popular Christmas carol  Mary, Did You Know as part of his performance. Jordan, 21, attended Lee University, a Christian University operated by the Church of God. Based in Cleveland, TN, Lee is re-known for its chorale groups. According to CBN, Jordan’s parents are pastors in Harlan, Kentucky and Jordan has ministered as a worship leader. Christian recording artist Michael English first sang Mary, Did You Know  in 1991. English along with Mark Lowry, who wrote the lyrics, sang with Gaither Vocal Band. Buddy Greene wrote the music for this song that has gone on to become a modern Christmas classic. During the semi finals Jordan Smith sang Somebody to love. His rendition of this Queen classic topped the music charts on iTunes, outselling English mega pop star Adele. Adele had led the charts for five weeks straight with her latest hit song Hello. Thirty minutes after Jordan finished singing Somebody to Love live on The Voice, …

Peter Hollens amazing A cappella rendition of ‘Mary, Did You Know’

This rendition of the Christmas favorite,  Mary, Did You Know, has received nearly 2 million views on YouTube since it was posted on Tuesday, December 8, 2015. Based in Eugene, Oregon, Peter Hollens is an American singer and producer. He has produced a number of songs on YouTube where he sings A cappella, however as you will see in this unique video he sings all the parts himself. Hope you enjoy this amazing rendition of Mary, Did you know.    

Thiago Brado: YouTube Capture

New Brazilian worship song “Minha Essência” (My Essence)

I encourage you to listen to this video by Thiago Brado, a worship singer from Brazil.  The song sung in Portuguese, entitled My Essence in English, has nearly 4.3 million views on YouTube. Thiago, 25, whose real name is Thiago Oliveira da Silva started singing at the age of 10. At 14, he attended a musical conservatory for further training after his grandmother gave him a guitar. Three years later in 2007, Thiago encountered the Holy Spirit at a Catholic Charismatic meeting in Brazil that transformed his life. He has been attending ever since. During these gatherings his attention was drawn to worship and today Thiago says: “I sing what the Lord wants me to sing.” Several years back, my wife and I met a young couple involved in the Catholic Charismatic movement in Peru. I was genuinely impressed with their faith. We spent an evening with them and our discussion eventually turned to doctrine. Ok I confess, I asked them their views on Mary, the mother of Jesus. Though they were still Catholic in …

Los Angeles Staples Center photo Luca Zappa/Flickr

‘LA Times’ reviewer says recent Justin Bieber concert reminded him of a church service

LA Times concert reviewer Mikael Wood attended Justin Bieber’s recent concert held in Los Angeles on Friday, November 13th. In his review Wood wrote: “What the vaguely billed event at Staples Center felt most like was a church service.” Wood went so far as to title one of his articles on the concert: Review how Justin Bieber turned Staples Center into a megachurch. The sold out concert coincided with the release of Bieber’s latest CD “Purposes.” I recently reported on the transformation taking place in Justin’s life which he attributes to a renewed relationship with Jesus Christ. A big part of this change also involves a friendship with Judah Smith, a pastor based in Seattle. Smith was even at the concert on stage with Justin. Wood said the two sat on stools for part of the 90-minute performance where they discussed “the importance of maintaining a positive spirit and surrounding oneself with encouraging people…” Wood said during this session “Bieber …. more or less preached.” Wearing a black hoodie, Justin also took some pre-selected questions …