Acappella Memories: Duane Adams at Acafest 2012 Pt. 2

Duane Adams 2012Here is another snippet of the recording from our roundtable discussion at Acafest 2012. Duane Adams shares a particular memory from an evening in Dallas, TX at the late, great Footloose. We were blessed to be able to sing many different, powerful songs. The most powerful, I believe, were some of the songs that came direct from scripture. His Righteousness, from the Sweet Fellowship album,  was one of those. This is the story of one song on one night.

Acappella Memories: Duane Adams at Acafest 2012

Young Duane AdamsAt Acappella’s recent 30th anniversary event, which took place at Acafest 2012, everyone had the chance to share their memories from their days on the road. The groups were divided into different periods, and the early 90’s Acappella had their chance to share on July 2nd, 2012 at 8:30 AM.

Several interesting stories were shared, and I’ll post more in the future. Here is one humorous story shared by Duane Adams relating Acappella’s encounter with a “spiritual retreat center” in New England.

Acappella Memories: Entertaining Angels Unaware

Acappella 1989

Duane Adams, Gary Moyers & George Pendergrass

I debated with myself quite a while about posting this story. I’ve told it to very few people. I figure it’s time I shared it. Some of you will think I’ve lost it. That’s okay. I’m past being concerned about that. It’s an occurrence that Danice Sweet and I will never forget.

Before the story can be told, a little background is necessary. Early on in my Acappella career (circa early ‘89), we had a concert in northern Alabama. I think it was Florence, but it might have been Huntsville. Wayburn, George and I were still pretty new to the whole Acappella experience. Rodney was the old pro and we were learning fast.

Our concert that evening had been a great success. The house was packed and the crowd was very responsive. We finished our last song and left stage. The crowd was having none of that and called us back for an encore, which we didn’t expect in the least. What artist does? Sorry, I digress.

Just as the four of us reached stage and started setting up our mic stands for the last song, we heard Rodney over on the far left of the stage saying something like, “Please, don’t do this…” As we looked over, we saw a man, about our age, forcing his way to the microphone. It turned out that this was an old acquaintance of Rodney and he had a bone to pick with us.

He spent the next 5 minutes berating us in front of the packed crowd for our unscriptural approach to gospel music. I won’t go into the theology of it all at this point. Suffice it to say, he was greatly convicted and felt compelled to show us the error of our ways in front of everyone.

Looking back, it was pretty humorous. As soon as he started talking, our sound engineer promptly reached up and turned off the mains, leaving the monitors on. This fellow could hear himself very well (as could we), but the crowd had trouble making out what he said. Good move.

Anyway, it was like a bucket of cold water had been poured over everyone’s head. Talk about quenching the Spirit, this guy had grabbed him by the collar and slapped hard several times.

When he had said his piece and left stage, Rodney called him by name and quoted Matthew 18:15 – “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you. If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.” He countered this guy’s near-rage with the Word of God. The crowd became re-energized, we sang Well on My Way and the evening ended on a somewhat somber up-note. We spent the next 90 minutes speaking with audience members and encouraging one another.

And thus the story begins. Since we we’re in northern Alabama and only a few hours from our home in Tennessee, we opted to drive home after the concert. That was unusual in itself. Our norm was to spend the night and move on the next day.

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KONY 2012

Kony-2012It’s not often that I jump on a social bandwagon. This is one that needs to be heard.

Joseph Kony is a Ugandan guerrilla group leader, head of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a group engaged in a violent campaign to establish theocratic government based on the Ten Commandments throughout Uganda. The LRA say that God has sent spirits to communicate this mission directly to Kony.

Directed by Kony, the LRA has earned a reputation for its actions against the people of several countries, including northern Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and Sudan. It has abducted and forced an estimated 66,000 children to fight for them, and has also forced the internal displacement of over 2,000,000 people since its rebellion began in 1986. As a result, in 2005 Kony was indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court at the Hague, but has succeeded in evading capture since.

Kony is the reason the United States committed troops to Uganda in 2011. I had no idea why Obama did that until I saw this.

YOU need to watch this video. It is powerful and moving. It’s 30 minutes in length. Turn off 30 Rock and watch this instead. You won’t regret it.

April 22 is coming.

Is Chinese a Language of the Tower of Babel?

ShangdiI first heard of this possibility in the mid-90’s, as the Internet was coming of age. I had always been fascinated with the story of the Tower of Babel and wondered about the languages that came from the incident. Could some of them survived? What new forms and derivations did they take over the years? As I researched, I ran across the idea of Shangdi, the Chinese creator God. The literal translation of Shangdi is “the heavenly ruler.”

I am not a scholar and won’t pretend to be. Still, I’d like to share some of the things that I’ve found and that are easily discoverable all over the Internet. Shangdi (sometimes interchangeable with Tian, or Heaven) was the single deity that the Chinese emperor worshipped from as long as 4000 years ago. Documentation has been discovered that shows the Chinese royalty offered sacrifices (called the Border Sacrifice) to Shangdi once a year. This practice continued until as recent as 1911.

The Border Sacrifice

As the emperor would begin the sacrifice, costumed singers would lift their voices in song, reciting the following lyrics (translated into a somewhat King James style):

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Is Heartburn An Issue of the Heart?

My family history has an issue with health. Most of my uncles (Father’s side) have heart troubles of one sort or another. Every time I go to a new doctor, I fill out the requisite questionnaire which always asks if I have a family history of heart attacks, diabetes, hangnail, athlete’s foot, etc. Consequently, this little fact keeps hovering in the back of my mind.

More often than I care to admit, I deal with heartburn and I wonder (and hope) that heartburn is all it really is. For a period of time last year, I took an OTC heartburn medication daily… well, in two week periods. Then I would go off meds for a couple of weeks and it would return. As did the medication.

Where does heartburn come from?

Obviously, it has nothing to do with the physical heart. It just happens to produce pain in that same general area, which in turn causes anxiety and stress which may actually feed the heartburn. That’s not a fun cycle.

I read an article by Dennis Thompson of HealthDay entitled “Chronic Heartburn a Growing Problem in U.S.” He says that, generally, heartburn and acid reflux strike many people as an annoying and painful but ultimately harmless problem — a result of overindulgence and gluttony that must be endured. Frequent bouts of heartburn and reflux constitute a real medical condition known as gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, which is on the rise worldwide.

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Training A Capella Worship Leaders

I had an interesting conversation over lunch today. A dear friend of mine was lamenting the fact that a good education for an a capella worship leader is generally hard to come by. For generations, learning to lead worship in an a capella church consisted of Wednesday night services when the youth had a chance to lead singing. We’d throw some Jr High boy up there, let him start a song in the wrong key, and the regular song leader (sitting on the front row) would join in (in the correct key). Then it was off to the races.

There are a few organizations who spent summer sessions teaching young men how to lead, and I believe some of those are still out there. I would hazard a guess that they are much less attended than they used to be.Things have changed a bit (understatement).

A large number of churches have not changed at all. They still proceed with worship as they always have, and more power to them. I suspect that, as the years go by, it’s getting harder and harder to find new song leaders. It’s nice to see motivators like Keith Lancaster pouring themselves into training leaders (see his Worship Leader Institute).

Many a capella churches are moving to the “team” concept. I say “moving” as if this were a new concept, which it is not. Many churches have being doing this for years, but more and more are heading that way. This may seem like a foreign concept to those of you reading this that are not from an a capella church. Believe me, it’s a big step from a solitary man leading singing to a worship leader with an 8-10 person team.

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A Secret Your Husband Keeps…But Needs You to Know

This is a wonderful article I found from a great blogger named Ron Edmondson, Pastor of Grace Community Church in Clarksville, TN. Ron’s blog can be found here and he posts regularly on topics such as leadership, church, family and more. I hope you enjoy this. It really spoke to me today.

Ladies, here’s a secret your husband probably won’t share…

He needs your unconditional respect…in fact…he needs you to be his biggest fan…

Your support feeds his God-given ego…

Sure, that ego can be abused…

But just as you need his unconditional love, he needs your unconditional respect…

I realize you nor he is capable of perfectly fulfilling those individual needs…

But at least you know the secret now…

You see…

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Islam & Christianity

In 628 C.E. Prophet Muhammad (s) granted a Charter of Privileges to the monks of St. Catherine Monastery in Mt. Sinai. It consisted of several clauses covering all aspects of human rights including such topics as the protection of Christians, freedom of worship and movement, freedom to appoint their own judges and to own and maintain their property, exemption from military service, and the right to protection in war.

An English translation of that document is presented here:

This is a message from Muhammad ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them.
Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.
No compulsion is to be on them.

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Holy is He

This has been a good week for me, even though I have been weakened by some sort of bug that has kept me chained to the cabin. I am currently at Pine Springs Youth Camp which sits at about 9000 feet in the Sacramento Mountains of New Mexico. I have been serving as the worship leader and food server (when it was safe for me to do so).

Our evening worship services have been punctuated by heavy thunderstorms. At points it was so loud it was hard to hear the evening speaker even through the sound system. It has led to a different outlook on corporate worship for all of us. It’s hard to sing Awesome God while the thunder rolls all around you and not be moved.

The second night of worship, Monday evening, I wanted to focus on the holiness of God. We talked about the four living creatures of the book of Revelation and how they continually chanted “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” We spent several minutes chanting this phrase as a group, and we repeated it after every song. I went to bed that night with the sound of 150+ youth chanting the holiness of God ringing through my head.

As the week has continued, I have been amazed at how often this theme has repeated itself in the songs we have sung. It’s like God is using the weather and the recurring theme of His holiness to drive home the point to these kids. At least he has to me.

As I sit here preparing for tonight’s service, the sun is shining across the pines from one side of camp, while the other end is covered in heavy clouds with flashes of lightning and roils of thunder. And tonight we are singing Keri Jobe’s Revelation Song.

I get it, God.

Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.