All posts filed under: Music

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 …

Kaylee Rodgers leading the Killard House school Choir in "Hallelujah." Credit: Youtube

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 Campus choir singing on a Delta Flight.

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 YouTube Capture, The Voice

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 Youtube capture

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 …

KorinBukowski-TheVoice

Another Christian on ‘The Voice?’

Shy, unassuming Korin Bukowski was in battle with Mark Hood on The Voice tonight (November 17, 2015) for the last spot in the show’s Top 11. She and Mark had finished last in the audience voting and were forced in to a sing off where the viewing audience would vote live using Twitter. Mark sang an energetic version of “Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I’m Yours.” After he was finished, I thought Korin was in tough to move on. But her haunting version of “Don’t Know Why” clearly impressed the judges. Korin was still in the running. After counting the Twitter votes, Korin was declared the winner. Korin is pre-med student and during blind audition only one judge, Gwen, turned around to choose Korin to be part of a team. During the discussion after her initial tryout, judge Adam Levine said to Korin “You are so cool” and immediately Korin blurted out laughing “I’m not cool.” Of all the contestants, Korin seems to be the most awkward and lacking confidence. After tonight’s sing off, both Mark and Korin …

Justin Bieber in Oslo, Norway, October 29, 2015 Photo: NRK P3/Flickr

Justin Bieber takes ‘Billboard’ reporter to church

I have been following Canadian pop star Justin Bieber’s faith journey over the past few months.  I believe Justin’s faith journey is sincere, but it is filled with foibles, like wearing a a Marilyn Manson t-shirt to Hillsong worship conference in Australia earlier this year. But it is good for the church because we need to lighten up, not on sin, but on the persona that the church and its members are without sin and that somehow we have earned the right to cast the first stone when someone doesn’t immediately meet our expectations. The latest story about the mega rock star involves Justin’s interview with a reporter from Billboard. Justin, 21, actually convinces reporter Chris Martin to join him at church. The two end up at a service at the ballroom of the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California where Judah Smith was a guest speaker. Smith pastors The City Church in Seattle, Washington. Justin and the reporter sat in the front row. Though there were only about 400 people in attendance, one …

Jordan Smith Photo: YouTube Capture/The Voice

Jordan Smith’s spectacular blind performance on ‘The Voice’ wows the crowd and judges

Jordan Smith stunned the crowd at The Voice with his blind audition on September 21, 2015 when he sang “Chandelier.” Wowed by his performance, the crowd and four judges, all who turned their chairs, gave Jordan a standing ovation. Jordan is a senior at Lee University, a Liberal arts college in Cleveland, Tennessee. Operated by the Church of God, a Pentecostal denomination, it has consistently ranked among the top universities in the Southern US. Jordan eventually chose Adam Levine as his coach who described the young man as one of the most important people to be on The Voice. Jordan said: “I don’t know if I’m really happy or really scared.” Jordan sings with the Lee Singers, one of many choral groups at the university. This is not the first time the campus has gained recognition for singing performances by its students. Lee University Festival Choir was invited to sing at the 57th Presidential inauguration of Barack Obama held January 21, 2013. Two hundred students led by Dr. William Green, Dean of the Lee University School …

HeavenlyJoy-youtubeCapture

VIDEO: Heavenly Joy’s response to Howard Stern was so cute

I was watching America’s Got Talent and this cute five-year old girl named Heavenly Joy came out. Her talent was singing. She was incredible and actually reminded you of child-star Shirley Temple (1928 – 2014) whose Hollywood film and singing career started in 1932 at the age of five. Heavenly Joy received a standing ovation for her expressive performance of “In Summer” from the movie Frozen. The judges unanimously voted her through to the next round. One of the judges, Howard Stern, turned to Heavenly Joy and said, “I think Shirley Temple is living somewhere inside of you, is that possible?” Heavenly Joy replies emphatically, “Not Shirley Temple, Jesus.” “There you go, now you are talking,” Stern replies.  

Do Gospel singers have the safest and best lives?

[by Dean Smith] According to a report by Dianna Theodora Kenny of various musical genres, Gospel singers have the safest and best lives. Kenny is a professor of Psychology and Music at Australia’s University of Sydney. In her study, reported in The Telegraph, Kenny tracked the deaths of 12,665 musicians between 1950 and June 2014. The singers represented 14 different musical genres including gospel, rap, country, rock, metal, punk and pop. She broke their cause of death into basic categories — the top five being accidental, suicide, homicide, heart and cancer.

Stepping off on the 13th floor at a Bob Zombie concert

[by Dean Smith] Ten years ago, Caleb Bislow was watching TV at his then home in Denver, Colorado when God spoke to him. It wasn’t through a TV program, but a commercial advertizing that rocker Bob Zombie would be having a concert at Red Rock Stadium. Caleb sensed the Holy Spirit telling him to attend that concert. Bob Zombie, whose real name is Robert Cummings, is a grunge rocker, with a Gothic, vampire edge.  He was a founding member of the group called the White Zombies popular in the 1990s. Bob Zombie left the group in 1999 and went out on his own producing such albums as Hellbilly. He has since moved into films releasing titles with names of House of a Thousand corpses and Devil Rejects. It gives you some idea what Bob Zombie concerts are all about. After praying, Caleb believed he was still supposed to attend. He was a bit confused  as to why, but was able to convince two friends to join him. However, they weren’t interested in paying for the …

Mariane Anderson christening Liberty Ship SS Booker T. Washington, 1942: Wikipedia

The 100 year voice

[by Earl Blacklock] Marian Anderson was a black singer in the U.S. whose singing ability was considered exceptional. Famed conductor Arturo Toscanini once told her she had a voice “heard once in a hundred years.” In 1925, she began singing with the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, and was an immediate success. She followed that up with an appearance at Carnegie Hall in 1928, and a tour of Europe in the 1930s. She sang at the White House for the President and the King and Queen of England. A black singer in the U.S. during the 1930s faced enormous obstacles. In 1939, she was barred by the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) from playing at Constitution Hall. There was a public outcry against the decision, led by Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of the President. She, along with thousands of other DAR members, cancelled her membership in the organization in protest. She went further, helping to persuade Secretary of the Interior Harold Ickes to permit Marian to sing in an open air concert on the steps …

Katy Perry’s Super Bowl performance should encourage parents to pray for their children

[by Dean Smith] I am sure the Christian parents of mega-pop star Katy Perry have struggled as they watched their daughter climb the heights of stardom while seemingly walking away from her faith. Katy’s parents, Keith and Mary Hudson, are Pentecostal pastors now based in Santa Barbara, CA. They minister through the US preaching the Gospel. Katy grew up in a Christian home, attended a Christian school and for a time even sang Gospel music. But as her popularity grew, she walked away from her faith. In a 2013 interview with a woman’s magazine, Marie Claire, Katy stated she no longer “believes in an old man sitting on a throne” and certainly her lifestyle would back up that statement. But things are never as cut and dried as they seem and this applies to all children of Christian parents.

Haunting 800-year old Icelandic Hymn

[by Dean Smith] The 800-year old Icelandic Hymn “Heyr himna smiður” sung as the back drop on the opening credits for a documentary on the 1973 volcanic eruption on Iceland. Kolbeinn Tumason (1173-1208) wrote the words to the hymn. A devout Christian, he spoke about hope in times of hunger, sickness and fear. The music was written by Þorkell Sigurbjörnsson (1938-2013). Kolbeinn was a powerful chieftain or goði on the island in the 12th century. He reportedly wrote this poem on his death-bed after he was injured during a battle. Part of the hymn includes a plea for healing, perhaps his own. The words in English are:

Bono, U2, Billy Graham and Faith

Few of us realize the full impact Billy Graham had on the Kingdom of God. When attending Bible college, I met two identical twin brothers who went to their knees and accepted Christ watching a Billy Graham crusade on TV. Both men are in the ministry. The former pastor of the church I attend was saved through Billy Graham. Now reports are suggesting that Bono, the lead singer for the mega rock group U2, accepted Christ because of Billy Graham’s influence. This conclusion is a result of a poem that Bono wrote for Billy Graham. It suggests that as teenager, Bono became a Christian as a direct result of Graham’s influence. The poem on display at the Billy Graham Library reads:

Spontaneous praise at the Atlanta airport

Members of Harmony Hill Baptist Church in Lufkin, Texas were on a return leg of their trip from a pastor’s restoration conference in South Carolina. They had a three-hour hold over in Atlanta before their flight to Shreveport. Included in the group were members of the Classic Worship Praise of East Texas. As they were waiting, a lady sitting nearby asked the group: “What do y’all do?”

Oceans by Hillsong United

Hillsong United is a music-ministry of Hillsong, a church based in Sydney, Australia. The mega church considers itself a multi-site church — one church that meets in different locations throughout the city. It has four other locations and 9 extension services around Sydney. There are about 30,000 people attending the church at its various locations. Hillsong started in 1983 under Brian and Bobbie Houston, who moved to Sydney from New Zealand. Hillsong has expanded from its Sydney base and now has churches around the world including Copenhagen, Kiev, Amsterdam, Stockholm, London, Paris and Barcelona. In the video, Hillsong United sing their popular song “Oceans” for Relevant Magazine. Relevant Magazine describes itself as “twenty- and thirtysomething” group of Christians reaching out to “twenty- and thirtysomething” people. The ministry which started in 2002 has an outreach to about 2.3 million people monthly through its various media platforms — print and online.

Second Chapter of Acts: The “Easter Song”

“The angel up on the tombstone said He has risen just as He said. Quickly now go tell the disciples that Jesus Christ is no longer dead.” Second Chapter of Acts is one of my favorite Gospel groups. They were prominent during the 70s and 80s. They had a unique style that set them apart from many groups at the time. There is not a lot of archival video footage of the band, so I was delighted when I came across video of live concert in California from 1987. The “Easter Song” is one of my favorites by the band. The group, which disbanded in 1988, is composed of two sisters Annie Herring and Nellie Greisen and brother Mathew Ward. I wrote a previous article on the group, which you can read here if you are interested in a bit of their history.

Wess Morgan sings “You Paid it All”

Wess Morgan is a relatively unknown gospel singer. He serves as both worship leader and an associate pastor at Celebration of Life Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee. His parents Joseph and Yolanda Morgan pastor the church. As a boy, John Wesley (Wess) Morgan traveled with his parents and two siblings in their singing ministry across the U.S.. However, things began to derail for Wess. He became involved in drugs and alcohol, discovering cocaine at age 15. He ended up in juvenile detention after police charged Wess with armed robbery at age 17 and was again jailed for threatening people with an axe.

Irish priest surprises couple at their wedding with a personal rendition of ‘Hallelujah’

Father Ray Kelly was marrying Chris and Leah O’Kane at the Roman Catholic church he pastors in Oldcastle, Meath Ireland. Half way through the ceremony, Father Kelly had a surprise for the couple and began to sing a hit song by Leonard Cohen called “Hallelujah.” He changed the words to sing about their marriage. The first line of the song was: “We join together here today, to help two people on their way, as Leah and Chris start their life together.”

African group singing Kuo — ‘the devil is a liar’

A men’s group from Liberia singing a native African song — Kuo.  It means “The devil is a liar.” I love their voices and incredible sound without the benefits of the best in modern electronics. Liberia’s population of 3.7 million is made up largely of Christians 85.5%, followed by Muslims at 12.5% with the remaining 2% made up of a mix of tribal religions, Hindu, Buddhist and Sikh . The country considers itself a Christian nation. Stores are closed on Sunday and Christian holidays. Public schools offer Bible classes, though these are not mandatory. Located on the West Coat of Africa, Liberia is unique in that it was the only African country colonized by the United States of America.

Was Justin Bieber looking to get water baptized?

At times, Justin Bieber, 19, must feel his life is spiralling out of control as  he bounces from one conflict with police to another. There are hints Justin is becoming concerned and may be trying to change his life. A blog post on the New York Post’s Page Six reported Justin Bieber was recently looking to get water baptized. The unsuccessful attempt apparently took place on Saturday, February 1, 2014. 

Controversy erupts as musical score for Christian movie nominated for an Oscar

The Academy Awards has nominated the lead song of a Christian film for an Oscar as Best Original Score. The song, Alone Yet Not Alone, from the movie by the same name received the nomination over such heavy-weight pop stars as Taylor Swift and Jay-Z who wrote songs for movies last year. The film is based on a novel by Tracy Leininger Craven who researched and wrote the story about her ancestors. It is the true account of the Leininger family in 1700’s Pennsylvania. A Christian family, their faith was tested when Delaware warriors captured their two daughters, Regina and Barbara, in 1755 during the French Indian war.

Keith Green — Asleep in the Night

Keith Green (1953-1982) and his wife Melody were products of the Jesus People movement as the Holy Spirit swept through the Hippie generation during the late 60s and early 70s. Keith and his wife, both Jews, were radically transformed by the Gospel of Christ in 1975, 18 months after their marriage on Christmas Day in 1973. Keith was one of the most radical Christians I knew at the time — he and his wife were totally sold out to the Kingdom of God.