Monday, November 24, 2014

Far less than 30 days of praise... worship artist that I personally know.

So I go to "songs" on my IPad and hit shuffle and start going until I land on an artist I know.

Right now, I'm having to re-think my definition of the word, "know".  Ok, not really...there's people I know and there's people I've "met".  They're not the same no matter how much I want it to be.

For instance- in all those years of being a Youth Minister back in Mississippi I had the opportunity to meet a LOT of well-known artist.  One of my Youth Minister tricks at summer camp every year was to find the camp pastor and/or worship leader and invite them to meet with my group during some free time- usually at night during a Debrief Time.  I always figured if my kids had a chance to meet and hear the heart of the people on stage every night that they would be that much more engaged.  I was right about that most of the time.

So, in the course of a lot of years of youth ministry I met people on my Ipad like Chris Tomlin, Charlie Hall, Billy and Cindy Foote, Matt Redman, Mike Weaver (Big Daddy Weave),  all the girls with the original Pointe of Grace, Stephen Curtis Chapman, Steve Camp, Michael Passons of Avalon, Chris Rice, Bebo Norman, Mac Powell, some less widely known guys and gals like Michael John Clement, Chris Davis, Kevin Williams, Chris Layton, Dave Hunt, Stephen and Star Smith, Steve Opie Thomas, Jake Gulledge, Jennifer Smith, my best friend's sister Janet Burns, and probably a lot more.

You can find music from almost all of them on ITunes or at least find them on the interwebz.  Jennifer Smith is one of those "kids" I first met at Mississippi Super Summer; she grew up and became a great youth leader and worship leader and a couple years ago raised funds from friends via a kickstarter-type campaign to record an album.  I really like it a lot!!  Some of those guys/gals above are itinerant worship leaders mostly in the Southeast; several of them serve faithfully on church staffs across the Mississippi and beyond.

Janet is a bit of celebrity in and around Copiah County. She's always had a great voice and couple years ago went to Nashville to record an album that's easily the most "country/gospel" on my playlist. She recorded one of the songs with her daughter Caitlyn (who is one of my most favorite kids in the world). You can find her ministry page on Facebook

I even went to school with a couple semi-celebrities.  The worship bands at the BSU (Baptist Campus Ministry) at Mississippi State were always phenomenal. During the years I was at State, the groups featured two singer/musicians that every KNEW would make it in the "industry".

Kim Hill- who has recorded numerous albums and has led worship for a ton of conferences etc and Jeff Slaughter.  Kim probably wouldn't know me from Adam but we have a lot of legitimate mutual friends.  Jeff and I shared some Mississippi Delta roots and we've exchanged pleasantries from time to time.  If you're Southern Baptist or if you you've ever used SBC Vacation Bible School material then you're familiar with Jeff. He's written the music for VBS since before the earth cooled.

My most recent musical acquaintance is Bria Blessing.  She's on ITunes, too.  She and her family are long-time missionaries in Ukraine- she's been here for something like 16 years. Earlier this year she took Ukraine's version of The Voice by storm. She almost won and probably more importantly, the exposure gave her an incredible platform to share the light of Christ (and it's BRIGHT in her) all over Ukraine, including several "USO" type appearances with soldiers fighting in Eastern Ukraine.  You don't have to know Ukrainian to understand what happens when she shares with the judges that she's an American (about 4:40 into the Youtube below).


Ministry Happens in Ukraine said...

Part 1 of the translation from Bria's sister:
Narrator: The first to test fate is this charming young woman.
Mom (Rhonda): My name is Rhonda, and I'm a little nervous.
Host (Olya): With such a dress, I know Bria must be the one singing.
Bria: Yes, I will be singing.
-Hi, Ukraine. My name is Bria Blessing.
Olya: You have such a nice accent. But, why do you have an accent?
Bria: I'm an American. I was born there, but have lived in Ukraine for more than fifteen years.
-I moved never having heard of Ukraine, I didn't know where it was. My parents said, “Oh we'll go for a year or two,” but we all just fell in love with Ukraine.
Friend (Tolik): She's a person who, if you are near her, you are immediately in an atmosphere of joy and laughter.
Friend (Ira): How can you not love Bria? She's impossible to not love.
Friend (Dima): She gave me my first guitar pick and was always an inspiration in music for me.
Bria: I don't even remember when I began singing and performing on stage. It's just natural for me.
Mom: Probably age 3. She started very young at the house. We used to have this old stereo system with big headphones.
Bria: I always feel comfortable on stage and fellowshiping with people through singing.
-Through the Ukrainian song I'll be singing, through this dress, I want Ukrainians who don't understand what they have, to truly see how beautiful and wonderful this country is. Today, that's all I want.

Ministry Happens in Ukraine said...

(during performance)
Male Judge #1 (Serhiy): She has depth to her voice.
Olya: How can they not turn around? Come on Svyatoslav (male judge #2)!
Krista: They're playing with our nerves on purpose.
Dad (Mark): Are they deaf?
Olya: They are deaf.
Olya: Come on! Push the button. Please, please, please, push it!
(after performance)
Male Judge #2 (Svyatoslav): Good evening. Where are you from?
Bria: Good evening.
Svyatoslav: Oh. I can already hear that you aren't from Ukraine.
Bria: You can already tell?
Svyatoslav: I could hear it right away.
Bria: Oh my. I thought I didn't have an accent anymore! I'm actually an American, but I say that I'm from Lviv.
Svyatoslav: I don't know who you'll choose, but I have nothing to teach you. I would just be happy to work with you and do something good for you.
Bria: Thank you very much.
Serhiy: How long have you lived in Ukraine?
Bria: More than 15 years already.
Serhiy: 15 years? So basically, you're a Ukrainian!
Bria: I'm a Ukrainian!
Serhiy: Wonderful. I can say that I was impressed with your voice. I understood the depth, I understood that this isn't all you are capable of, you can do more...
Unkown interuption: Don't lure her.
Serhiy: Luring? I'm not luring, I'm just calling her to me. I will try to get you to remember your place of birth. I would love to have a person on my team who can truly sing well in English, with good pronunciation and who has such a beautiful voice.
Svyatoslav: You know, many people sing English beautifully; but few sing Ukrainian like you do.

Ministry Happens in Ukraine said...

Support Group: That's the best he's heard all night?! That's the best he's heard all night! (referencing a comment Svyatoslav made, but that comment was cut out)
Femal Judge #1 (Tamara): You've given so much tonight with your performance, to The Voice, and to each of us, because you cultivate this music inside of you, and so your voice is truly from deep inside. And these sounds fly out and transform into this completely pure, pure stream, that only music can create. Thank you very much!
Femal Judge #2 (Karolina): What a soul, …..., we felt it. Thank you for that. Thank you for your heart. Thank you for your Ukrainian soul. Thank you to your family. Please give them greetings and we are glad to have you on our show.
Bria: Thank you very much!
Serhiy: Now, the time has come for you to choose between two mentors.
Svyatoslav: Serhiy, Serhiy. There is no choice here.
Serhiy: There is a choice! There is always a choice! If you want to experiment musically, in language, I'm open to experimenting. Choose me. Choose.Me. I'm here! Come to me quickly!
Bria: Honestly, I must say, I'm a little disappointed that two of you turned around, because I hoped only one would turn around so that I wouldn't have to choose and it would be easier.
(Crowd chanting for Svyatoslav)
Bria: I want to thank all four of you for your kind words. I am very thankful. I'm sorry.....but I'm from Lviv, I really love my city, so I must go with Svyatoslav.
Svyatoslav: Well done. Thank you. I think we will work well together. You did great. You sang beautifully and picked the right song. Great song choice!
Karolina: Well, congratulations. It couldn't have turned out any differently.
Serhiy: Yes, it was obvious. I could try, but...
Karolina: There was no other choice.
Svyatoslav: That's what the competition is for, for you to try.
Serhiy: We're all here trying something.
Svyatoslav: He who doesn't try doesn't get champagne (this is a Russian saying), right?
Serhiy: Where's the champagne???
Olya: Thank you for Kvitka Cisyk (famous performer of the song). Thank you for Ivasyuk (author of the song). Thank you for Svyatoslav. Thank you for making those men fight for you. It was fun to watch! Well done!
Bria: They waited until the last second! I thought, “Well, ok, now I'm just singing for the nation.” I sang for the nation and bam....
Svyatoslav: She had me at the first notes. I didn't push the button sooner, simply because I was listening to the song.