Wednesday, August 11, 2010

One Of The Greatest Albums Ever . . .

In 1968 The Beach Boys, (that's right, The Beach Boys), reeling from the failure of Brian Wilson to deliver SMiLE in 1967 and their disappearance at the Monterrey Pop Festival that same year which they were asked to headline, went back to Brian's home studio and created a masterpiece titled Friends that was hardly noticed by the public world. Brian reminded everyone that although he was sliding away from public life, he was still able to deliver terrific music with melodies and harmonies that were second to none.

Friends features contributions from each group member, especially in the songwriting department. Carl Wilson steps forward in a big way on this album with beautiful vocals on the title cut. Dennis sings lead on two cuts, "Little Bird" and "Be Still". The songs are gentle (with the exception of "Transcendental Meditation" which was on the mind of Mike Love after he spent some time with The Beatles with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi in India.

All in all, this was one of the first group efforts which wasn't dominated by Brian. Each member played a vital role and while it didn't sell many copies, Beach Boys fans know of its beauty and cherish its warm sounds. No surfing here, no fast cars. Just great music from one of the most underrated musical groups of all time. Seriously!! Check it out!!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

On the musical side of things . . .

I have decided to post a weekly review of a CD which is getting heavy rotation in my car, home, or office and recommend it to you for your listening pleasure. This week I want to focus on Phil Keaggy's Acoustic Sketches. According to I-Tunes I have listened to this CD over 230 times since importing it into this computer some two years ago. But I have been listening to it for over 12 years. And all I can say is . . . God-honoring and a musician's delight.

Phil Keaggy is the best guitar player that so-called Contemporary Christian Music has ever produced. That's not my opinion, that's a fact. Phil has been around since the birth of CCM and is one of its pioneers. He started out in the late 60's in a secular rock group called Glass Harp and shredded his Gibson Les Paul for all it was worth. During his time with that band he met the Lord Jesus Christ and began the process of turning his talents toward the Lord. When he sings he sounds a lot like Paul McCartney (which is a-okay with me) and when he plays he sounds like no other. Landmark albums include What A Day, Way Back Home, Crimson and Blue, Phil Keaggy, True Believer, The Master and the Musician, Beyond Nature, The Wind and the Wheat, Dream Again, and Acoustic Sketches. (There are many more, these are just the ones I could think of right now).

Sketches is the official background to my work days at the church office. Highlights include Metamorphosis, Spend My Life With You, Swing Low, Sweet Chariot, The 50th, and Legacy. In each Phil lets his fingers do the walking in honor and praise of our Lord. The styles range from contemplative to folk and classical to all out jam.

If you enjoy acoustic guitar . . . this is the album for you. I hope this disc will lead you to discover more from Phil Keaggy. Enjoy!! Next week's review: who knows? :)

I've been thinking . . .

a lot recently about something I heard a preacher say at a pastor's conference earlier this year about God's passive wrath. I am paraphrasing him but what follows is pretty close. There are pastors everywhere who are struggling with sins which God will either confront here and now by dismantling ministries and disrupting lives in God's objective of saving the heart of the pastor for eternity OR God will simply allow pastors to continue in ministry and then they would become objects of God's passive wrath in judgment when they, like the people in Matthew 7, will say "Lord didn't we do this, this, this, and this?" to which Jesus will reply, "What does that have to do with me?"

I had never considered the second option and to be honest it caused me to sit up straight and take a more serious inventory of my life and how I conduct myself as a minister of the Gospel in EVERY area, son, husband, father, pastor, preacher, administrator, whatever . . . We would all do well to take serious these words and use them to check ourselves and strive to live lives of faithful service unto God in Christ. We must understand that there's nothing we can do to earn our salvation for the love of God as displayed in the life, death and resurrection of Christ has covered each one of us. But we are called to live Christlike lives in response to God's initiative and calling for each one of us.

That is my pursuit today. I pray that it is yours as well. Being a Christian is seriously joyful!!

peace -- Js