Friday, June 24, 2016

A Different Kind of Gospel Music

Summer series "Friday's Summer Fruits" with Donna Oswalt
"Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good..." Psalm 34:8

By subscription, I receive emails during the week from describing themselves as very simply a brief daily email with an excerpt or quote we view as interesting or noteworthy, offered with commentary to provide context. The exerts are from random books; some days the topic interests me and other times not so much. A few weeks ago the selection was about Rosetta Tharpe, who some consider the first rock and roll guitarist and a women no less!
Sister Rosetta Tharpe not only could sing electrifying gospel but what an acoustic guitar she could play. [Jazz promoter] John Hammond explained, 'She is one of the first to use it for melody-plucked lines. Her technically astonishing lead breaks invented the rock and roll guitar.' (click for full article)
Born in 1915 in Cotton Plant, Arkansas, she frequently accompanied her mother as she preached. Rosetta, a "big attraction", sang and played the guitar. Very talented, but in some ways, her music style was scandalous in many religious circles while secular audiences heard "blues-oriented gospel" for the first time.
"Rosetta Tharpe was a pioneer. When she sang gospel on a secular stage she scandalized the sanctified church. They never forgave her. Religious folk opposed singing in cabarets; it was synonymous with the Devil, God's enemy. They told Sister Tharpe that either she serve the devil or God. She would respond that the Lord knew her heart and it wouldn't lead her astray. She was the first gospel singer to sign with a major recording company and to appear in a nightclub -- mine."  (click for full article)
Today, contemporary worship music is both familiar and common place within Christian circles; new Christian music rattled churches a few decades ago and still is considered not sacred enough by some. I marvel at Rosetta's unashamed offering of the Gospel, her willingness to share her soul despite ridicule and lack of acceptance. Take a moment to watch a video of her in 1960! Radical for the times! As you listen, ask yourself if you are ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Will you share Him today? - dho

**Link to other videos of Rosetta Tharpe

Friday, June 17, 2016


Summer series "Friday's Summer Fruits" with Donna Oswalt
"Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good..." Psalm 34:8

Baptists Today is one series of Sunday School material and happens to be the lessons my Sunday School class uses. Nurturing Faith Journal and Bible Studies provides two months of lessons in addition to great articles relevant to church and  Christian community today. In the May/June 2016 issue, one such article "An Inside Job...What really brings contentment?" gives us a glimpse into the merging of psychology and theology! 

Extensive studies have proven that external circumstances...account for only 10 percent of a person's happiness. Martin Thielen, pastor of First United Methodist Church, Cookeville, TN
Thielen's article goes on to describe "10 attitudes and behaviors" of contented people that not only come from psychologists but also are found in the Bible.  
Contented people: know that external circumstances don't determine happiness; use trials as growth; cultivante optimism; focus on the present; practice forgiveness; practice generosity; nurture relationships; express gratitude; care for their bodies; care for their souls. Martin Thielenpastor of First United Methodist Church, Cookeville, TN
 So often Christianity and science act like enemies, but in this case they merge; they agree. The external circumstances - the world's definition of happiness: the right job, great income, good looks, and more - will never bring contentment. Thielen says, "Instead, contentment is an inside job." Consider this list. Do you have contentment? If not, maybe you can find new ways to be content! - dho

Martin Thielen serves as senior pastor at First United Methodist Church, Cookeville, Tennessee; he has a bachelor of arts, a master of divinity, and a doctor of ministry degree, along with a year of PhD coursework at Vanderbilt University. Writing for publication has long been an important part of Martin's ministry. He has written seven books, four of them on the subject of worship and preaching, and more than one hundred articles. His doctor of ministry project was "Ministering to Ministers through Writing." For further information about Martin, especially his passion for vocational ministry, read"Baptizing Babies and Burying Old Folks."

Friday, June 10, 2016

Consequences of the Lies!

Summer series "Friday's Summer Fruits" with Donna Oswalt
"Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good..." Psalm 34:8

Do you know about Propel Women? Their Mission and Purpose is "Helping Women Internalize a leadership identity and fulfill their purpose, passion, and potential." Founder and author of 5 books, Christine Caine says this about Propel:

Propel exists to help create an interconnected life in Christ, who affirms and acknowledges every woman’s gifts, passions, and leadership potential for the glory of the Kingdom.

This week I want to offer an article by Propel's Christine Caine, "5 Often-Hidden Consequences of Shame". (click link) 
"No matter the source, shame is a powerfully painful emotion that shackles us in the prison of our pasts, and if we aren’t careful, we will stay there—missing out on the beautiful lives created for us." Christine Caine
Shame tells us lies, and frequently we believe these falsehoods. Caine explores more about shame in her book Unashamed. So, take a few minutes to read 5 problems we encounter when letting shame rule our lives.
"When we hear the lies, rather than believe them, we must claim God’s truth and love for ourselves, robbing shame of the power it once held in our lives." Christine Caine

Christine Caine

Christine Caine is an Australian-born, Greek-blooded activist, author and international speaker. She is cofounder of the anti-human trafficking organization, The A21 Campaign, the founder of Propel Women and the author of the new book Unashamed: Drop the Baggage, Pick Up Your Freedom, Fulfill Your Destiny. For more information visit
Check out the Propel website and learn more about its women's ministry, books and events! 

#propelwomen #christinecaine

Friday, June 03, 2016

Inhale Deeply

Summer series "Friday's Summer Fruits" with Donna Oswalt
"Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good..." Psalm 34:8

photo by Ann Voskamp

Our habits unclothe us — they expose our wounds, our insecurities, our idols, our addictions — or our hopes, our dreams, our prayers. Our habits are us. The patterns of our lives reveal the form of our souls. - Ann Voskamp

Ann Voskamp, author and blogger, is someone you should definitely read. The beauty of her words takes your soul on a journey! Today, I'd like to offer her recent blog post "How you can reset in the middle of the year: June's the new January". (click link to read)

Let the world go ahead and get loud and large. There are fresh starts in quiet starts. There are small and hidden seeds that are growing into forests, that are growing into the greatest yield. - Ann Voskamp
As you read these words, soak in the photographs that speak paragraphs, listen to the richness in simplicity, find the possibility in seeking God.
I light a candle every day at the prayer table. Write a bit in my journal, not words of mine, but Words of His, copied out, like writing them with my hand can shape my hand, can shape a life. These are simple practices, life-giving habits. - Ann Voskamp

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Taste and See!

"Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good..." Psalm 34:8

      Summer calls us with garden-grown tomatoes and fresh-harvested berries, peaches, watermelons and more. Seasonal Farmer's Markets burst with colors and fragrances capturing our senses. It's true that now days we can find most fruits throughout the year, as grocers import from selective climates, but there's nothing that compares to vine-ripened and freshly gathered goodness. These sights and smells refresh and excite our senses, often bringing to mind memories of yesteryear while igniting anticipation of gatherings like picnics, cook outs, vacations, and family reunions. 

Symbols of seasons, rooted in ancient cultures and literature and Scriptures, depict society's dependency on planting and growing and harvesting. Summer symbolizes a time of plenty and passion, a fullness of living, being in the moment. Somehow, summer's longer daylight hours expose our desires to share with others and become an offering of extra-time to gather and linger with family and friends, to meet and get to know new friends. Depending on where one lives, factors vary, but for those of us in the Southeastern United States, summer means hot weather and cool pools, warm evenings and refreshing ocean swims, steam rising from the streets with an unexpected shower and giggling children playing in sprinklers. Summer is the season to once again find the innocence and the joy of chasing fireflies on a summer's evening! 

So - I'm planning something different for the blog this summer. Beginning tomorrow - Friday, June 3rd - I will post on Fridays (instead of Thursdays) with a series called "Friday's Summer Fruits"! Each week I will share some of what I'm reading this summer - from blogs to books and more. Let's gather some Summer Fruits, delicious and refreshing authors, ideas, and possibilities as we find new ways to experience God's nudges, to linger in God's presence, to be refreshed with God's goodness. Let's taste and see that the LORD is good! ~dho