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BTW-StJames

BEHIND THE WORSHIP - Rebecca St. James

Rebecca St. James on ‘Song of Love’

“Song of Love” has been used in a lot of churches for corporate worship. The thing that was most powerful for me was hearing it for the very first time in my own home church in Franklin, Tenn., where our praise and worship team did the song often. To hear it being sung by the congregation of familiar faces around me was a very beautiful and memorable moment for me as a writer.

One of the most powerful things that can happen in ministry is hearing other people using your songs to worship God. To know that a song has been birthed from my own personal relationship in encountering God, and that now other people are encountering Him too through the same words and music I’ve written, is a very profound experience to me.

I’m a real nature person; I love being outdoors and seeing God’s creativity all around me. That really draws my heart instantly toward worship. 

That sense of God in the vastness of His great universe of creation that we see all around us was really the inspiration for this song and what it expresses. The lyric line, “The heavens declare You are God” is a very real biblical truth that is ever-present in my mind. read more

BTW-Potter

BEHIND THE WORSHIP - Don Potter

Don Potter: Talking to God in Worship

Don Potter had heard the admonition to “seek God’s face” before, yet like many, it left him feeling perplexed. One day while seeking the Lord in the cabin where he was staying, he looked out an upstairs window. “The sky was clear and blue ... and just then I cried out, ‘Lord, I don’t know how to seek Your face—show me Your face!’ When I looked up there was a cloud right outside the same window ... perfectly shaped like a human eye and looking right at me. I stared for a moment and then fell on my face. When I got up, I started writing this song [called ‘Show Me Your Face’].”

Potter waited a year before he sang the song in public; that’s how intimate the experience felt and how concerned he was about “offending my King.” However, that sort of Spirit-filled experience isn’t uncommon for Potter, a musician and producer who, in addition to leading worship at churches around the country, also works with country stars such as Wynonna Judd.

“(As I’m leading worship) I try to hear the heart of people,” Potter says. “I then try and sing that to God as I believe I’m hearing it. After a bit, God will sometimes want to say something back, and I will try my best to repeat the words I hear. Praise-leading is really not leading at all, but offering yourself as a conduit for God to have a conversation with [people].” read more

BTW-Munizzi

BEHIND THE WORSHIP - Martha Munizzi

Martha Munizzi on ‘Because of Who You Are’

To have a song that’s had that kind of life and longevity is incredible. When I wrote it my kids were young and everyone was getting ready for bed, and I just had a moment to reflect and watch my kids play. Suddenly I started singing the chorus part: “Because of who You are.” I kept it to myself and would sing it around the house, but then I thought, “Because of who You are, I give You glory, I give You praise” ... but who is the “You”? I started looking up the names of God: You are my Jehovah Jireh, my provider—all of the different names for God.

I’ve found that songs about God to God are the songs that people gravitate to; they’re the songs that literally change the worship time because it’s suddenly not about me, it’s about Him and it’s directed to Him. It’s rallying all of us to sing of His greatness. Those are just the best songs, but they’re not easy to write, and when I’m writing I have to remember that. read more

Christian Billionaire Pledges to Donate Half His Wealth

What does David Green have in common with Warren Buffet, Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates, and Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg? First, they are all billionaires. Second, they are all giving away half their wealth to charity.

The CEO of Hobby Lobby, Green, a devout Christian, is among a growing list of billionaires who have pledged to give away most of their money. Green and his wife, Barbara, are officially part of The Giving Pledge, an effort to invite the wealthiest individuals and families in America to commit to giving the majority of their wealth to the philanthropic causes and charitable organizations of their choice either during their lifetime or after their death.

“Coming from a family of preachers, the idea of giving back has been part of my life as long as I can remember,” Green wrote in his pledge letter. “My parents and their parents before them were what some would consider poor, but they gave back whenever they could whether through small contributions of money, or through acts of kindness,” God has blessed me with a wonderful family, a successful business and outstanding employees. I do not take these blessings lightly.”

When Hobby Lobby was created in the early 1970s, Green says he was committed to use his profits to help ministry work. He says knew from an early age that ministry work, at least in the sense of preaching from a pulpit, was not his calling. But, he adds, he also knew that God gifted him with a mind for understanding business, and that gift would allow him to carry out God’s work through contributions to great missions throughout the world.

“We honor the Lord in all we do by operating the company in a manner consistent with Biblical principles. From helping orphanages in faraway lands to helping ministries in America, Hobby Lobby has always been a tool for the Lord’s work,” Green wrote, pointing to a verse in 2 Corinthians that says, “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work…You will be enriched in every way so that you can be generous on every occasion, and through us your generosity will result in thanksgiving to God.”

What's your take on wealth? Did Green make the right move? read more

Did You Know ...·

A gospel song is dominating the playlists in nightclubs and bars in east and central Africa.·

MTV Africa host Emukule Ekirapa, also known as VJ Kule, reports that the song “Tobina,” which means “to dance” has been a smash hit in clubs, bars and churches in East and Central Africa. The upbeat praise song by Congo gospel artist Daddy Owen has secular and Christian listeners swaying to its worshipful lyrics. Whether the listener is in church or a club, VJ Kule says the song’s message is clear: “Thank God for the beautiful life that you are living. Thank God for your health. Thank God for your family. Once God has sorted all of that, the only thing left to do is dance and praise Him.” read more

Numbering Our Days

During much of our life we measure time by its duration: how many years have passed, how many remain before us. We rush through one task in order to hasten on to the next. We use up time, often squandering it like wealthy millionaires.

But as we reach late life, this preoccupation with quantity gives place to an appreciation of quality. The slowing of our lives allows us to meet each person and situation with greater attentiveness. Each moment, each day becomes more precious.

We are finally able to sink into the present moment. In Number Our Days, Barbara Myerhoff describes this capacity to live life fully as one of the secrets of aging well.

She quotes a Jewish friend: "I think this paying such attention to life is what we mean by 'a heart of wisdom'...In the psalm it says, 'So teach us to number our days, that we may get us a heart of wisdom."

Learning how to number our days means cultivating a capacity for wonder, for solitude and for prayer. Deepening our understanding of these dimensions of the spiritual life can enrich our aging immeasurably.


Adapted from Winter Grace by Kathleen Fischer, copyright 1998. Published by Upper Room Books, www.upperroom.org/bookstore/. Used by permission. read more

God Can Use You, Too

When I was a little girl, I watched my dad get drunk and physically abuse my mom. One day He went so far as to bring another woman into our home.

At 4 years old, I was molested by a baby-sitter, and at 5, by a family member. The molestation continued until I was 12.

At first, I didn't tell anyone because the abuser said my mom would be angry with me and would not believe me. When I finally spoke up, that is exactly what happened.

In high school, I spent every moment either at school or working, just to get away from the tur moil in my home life. Then at 17, I became a Christian.

My mother made it difficult for me to live the Christian life. Eventually, I returned to my old ways.

I began preparing to attend college in Europe. I wanted to get as far away as I could, but I discovered I was pregnant at 18, and I was kicked out of my home.

I moved in with my boyfriend and cried every night for a year. This was not what I had planned!

When we were old enough, my boyfriend and I were married. We had many differences, but I made a commitment to him.

My husband liked to drink and smoke. His drinking led to cocaine use and adultery. I tried everything to get him to stop using drugs, but nothing worked.

One day I called out to Jesus to help me.

My husband became very sick, and I ran to God. That day I found Him all over again. He comforted me and loved me as though I'd never left Him.

Two years later my husband was diagnosed with a terminal illness and given two to six months to live. But before he died, he became the kind of man I'd prayed for him to become.

Now I'm running a day-care center and working with abused women. I have also begun speaking and writing books.

The Lord has turned my misery into a ministry to others. He's using me in ways I never imagined He would. read more

Comfort in Crisis

Times of crisis don't usually evoke cherished memories. However, it is just such a time in my life that calls up my fondest memory.

While I was growing up, my family went to church sporadically and believed in God. I believed that He existed, but other than that I never thought very much about Him.

Then in my late 20s a series of events drove me to a crisis point. My mom died suddenly, and 14 months later, I married and began a new life 900 miles away from family, friends and everything familiar to me.

When I became pregnant with my first child, the thrill was tempered with fear. Problems with the pregnancy confined me to bed for several weeks. As I prayed for the safety of my child, I found myself deeply desiring to know this God to whom I was praying.

Until then, I had avoided reading the Bible because I'd been deceived into believing I could never understand it. A precious Christian friend encouraged me to buy an easy-to-understand translation and dig in.

I devoured the Psalms as ravenously as a starving person would a sumptuous meal. A picture of God began to emerge from them that was very different from the one I'd created myself, and oh, so much better!

When I read through the New Testament, I began to understand my desperate need for Jesus. Right there in my bed, I asked Him to come in and take over my life.

Later I realized that the crisis in my pregnancy was a gift in disguise. Not only was I blessed with a perfect baby boy, but also I was born again to eternal life. read more

Open Heart Open Door

FROM THE TIME SHE WAS A LITTLE GIRL, MOTHER BLANCHE BELL WEAVER HAS OPENED HER HEART AND HER HOME TO THOSE LESS FORTUNATE THAN HERSELF. read more

Surrendering to God

In the early days of my ministry, 50 years ago, I would go to a place to run meetings and stay for perhaps a week. The people would come, and I would preach, and it was wonderful.

Then I pastored for 20 years in a church south of London. I was so fulfilled in that church. I loved it. This, too, was wonderful.

Then all of a sudden, God said to me, "Go." I said, "No." A second time God said, "Go." But again I said, "No." After my second refusal, God began to deal with me. When He did, I learned something: The God of Jonah still lives!

I realized that, in the whale's belly, Jonah was brought to a place where he would either declare, "Salvation is of the Lord," or bewail, "Salvation is of the Lord," one or the other. And in that place God began to deal with him.

As a result of the Lord's "dealings," I was a dying man at age 51. I persisted in my disobedience for a time, but finally at 2 a.m. one morning, I surrendered to God.

I said, "Lord, I'm going." He said, "Yes, you're going." I said, "But I had decided to stay!" God replied, "No, you're going. You'll either go and do what I've purposed you should do, or you're going home

So I moved out--but not because I wanted to. God has a way of making us give in. How much easier if we just cooperate with Him in the first place! read more

Why Can't I Say "NO"!

Everywhere I travel I meet them--little helpers, eager to "Bless the Minister". They mean well, but sometimes what they are offering to do is better left undone.

You ought to let me cut and highlight your hair." I heard the voice over my shoulder. When I turned around, my eyes had to look down about two feet to find the source of the offer, one that came with a long, Southern drawl.

"Hi, my name is Hepsiba. (That's in the Bible.) I do hair. I do pastor's hair, associate minister Calvin's hair and administrator-apostle Johnson's hair. Now he's actually bald, but I put a thick, all-natural beeswax with Retin-A™ on his hair, and then I pull it through a rice paper sorta hat. read more

God's Paratroopers

Like an elite rescue squad, we have the privilege of partnering with God in ushering to safety those who will perish without Him.


I was once told by a paratroop instructor that there are four important commands given to the parachutists before every jump: (1) attention, (2) stand in the door, (3) look up, and (4) follow me!

Thinking of these commands, I am reminded that Jesus is preparing men and women for the new heaven and the new earth, and He has given His co-workers the same orders that the parachutists receive. The apostle Paul wrote: "Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters" (Eph. 6:5, KJV). Our task is not to give God His instructions. Rather, we must report for duty. read more

Zilpha Elaw

Nineteenth Century Revivalist

One day while milking a cow, Zilpha saw Jesus walking toward her. He appeared to say, "Thy prayer is accepted; I own thy name." Zilpha first thought she was seeing things; but when the cow looked in the same direction, bent its front legs and lowered its head to the ground, she knew the Lord had come to answer her prayer.

Zilpha was born free to religious parents in Pennsylvania around 1790. Her mother died when she was 12 years old, and her father sent her to live with a Quaker family. He died a year and a half later. read more

Yoo Hoo, I Have A Question

Years ago, toward the end of the hippie movement, my husband and I used to arrive with our toddler, Gail, at her prekindergarten class about the same time each Sunday morning. Almost simultaneously, a bearded young man with very long, flowing hair would deposit his young daughter, Tammy.

My husband, Tom, and I were taken aback more than once by how much Tammy's dad resembled the artist's rendition of Jesus that hung on the Sunday school wall. We sometimes couldn't help remarking to each other about it.

After our couples' Sunday school class concluded one Sunday, I went to pick up Gail as usual. Hurrying to the door, her teacher apologized, "I'm sorry, but during playtime just now, your little Gail and Tammy got into a scrap." read more

Was That a Compliment.

Just before the holiday season our family traveled out of state to attend an interdenominational charismatic conference. My 3-year-old grandson, Christian, accompanied us, and when he saw me the first morning dressed in a new winter outfit, he was wide-eyed with delight and especially impressed with my red shoes.

Looking down at them and then at me, Christian exclaimed the words that blessed this grandmother's heart, "Oh Grammy, you look soooo pretty! You look just like a clown!"

High praise indeed from a 3-year-old!

--Cynthia Duerfeldt read more

Wheels Around the World

Laurie Malaby had worked with disabled children in the United States for many years. But she never dreamed God would use her to bring new freedom to children overseas.

Laurie Malaby dialed the number on the business card she had been given earlier that week, never dreaming that a single telephone conversation would open the door to a life-changing experience. Trained as a pediatric physical therapist, Laurie had worked with disabled children in the United States for many years.

As part of her job with Wicomico County Public Schools in Salisbury, Maryland, Laurie often places orders for new wheelchairs when her students outgrow them. "In my profession, we can't bear to see perfectly good equipment discarded," Laurie says. "So I began storing these used wheelchairs in the basement of my school, thinking there had to be someone who could recycle them." read more

Walking In The Light

JENNIFER ROTHSCHILD'S LIFE BEARS WITNESS TO GOD'S DESIRE FOR EVERY WOMAN TO BE AN OVERCOMER.


From the outside, the Rothschild residence seems to be the quintessential middle-class home nestled beneath the shade trees of a typical Midwestern suburb. The freshly cut lawn gently slopes down to the curb on which a bicycle casually rests.

Parked in the driveway is the all-American family-sized utility vehicle awaiting the next trek to the nearby high school soccer field or the local farmers market. Little would anyone imagine that within the traditional brick walls of this home (in the basement study, to be exact) lies the control center for the ministries of Christian author, singer, songwriter and inspirational speaker Jennifer Rothschild. read more

Yes, Lord?


While standing at the kitchen sink one day, I suddenly became aware of the Lord's presence. Pausing to acknowledge Him, I whispered, "Yes, Lord?"

He said, "You must go uptown…now."

"But, Lord," I began, then answered, "Yes, Lord." read more

Turning Pain Into Purpose

Paula Yorker's family secret could have been her undoing. Instead, it became the basis for her highly effective brand of compassionate and relevant evangelism.


LIKE MOST MOMS, Paula Yorker spends much of her day handling routine responsibilities: running errands, cleaning house and shuttling her 14-year-old to after-school activities. What's not so typical is how the attractive, soft-spoken 43-year-old spends her free time: witnessing to drug dealers, ministering to prison inmates and heading up outreaches in inner-city neighborhoods.

"I love church," Paula says, "but I'd rather be outside, sharing the gospel and love of Christ, versus sitting in a pew, hearing the Word of God and doing nothing with it!" read more

Captured But Not Crushed

When terrorists took me and my husband hostage—and killed him after 376 days—I learned to love my enemies.


A few short years ago, I was perfectly content to live in a small barrio in the Philippines with my jungle-pilot husband, Martin, and my three children. My daily tasks at that time were simple:

  • Keep Martin going so he could fly for our co-workers who labored in the tribal areas
  • Home school our kids so we wouldn't have to send them to boarding school, which was several days' travel away
  • Provide meals and housing for visitors and colleagues who passed through our area. read more

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