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Singer Steven Curtis Chapman on the Evolution of Christian Music

April 4th, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Artist Spotlight
Source: Christian Post (by Jeannie Law)Award-winning, multi-platinum-selling artist Steven Curtis Chapman talks about the evolution of Christian music as he releases his 23rd career studio album, Worship And Believe.

worshipandbelieve“I love music, I love being a student of music. Now at this point in my life, creatively and my journey musically, I’m still learning, and growing and still a student,” Chapman told The Christian Post.

The well-respected artist has received 58 Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, 5 Grammys, 48 No. 1 singles, and has sold nearly 11 million albums. With a career that spans almost 30 years in Christian musicWorship And Believe, released March 4, is Chapman’s first-ever worship album.

“I’m still listening to music and when music moves me or inspires me, I try and figure out what it is about that that moved me and I try to learn from that and incorporate that into what I’m doing creatively,” Chapman said of his 16 track release.

Christian music has changed drastically since Chapman first emerged on the scene in 1987.

old-sccHe joked that while still trying to keep up with the times, he is not going to put on a pair of skinny jeans and become a “hipster.”

“At this point in my life I still think there are things that I have to say that can be very relevant hopefully to millennials and to all of us because there are real connecting points,” Chapman explained. “Yeah there are some things that are unique to our different age brackets but there’s a whole lot more that’s real common ground. I’m trying to stay real connected to that and find that common ground.”

The talented musician and activist aspires to make songs on this new album that can be sung by others individually and corporately, with corporate worship music being a concept that was unheard of when Chapman first started making Christian music. He explained that the diversity and styles of music have since expanded greatly.

“When I first started, Christian music was pretty narrowly defined. You’d have your crazy people out there like Steve Taylor who was doing punk rock music but for the most part if you really looked at what was considered Christian music at the time it was pretty inspirational,” Chapman said. “Even the singer-songwriters weren’t even as prevalent. There were songs that were kind of hymns, big productions, beautiful great songs but it was more narrowly defined as far as what Christian music was.”

stryperArtists began to stretch the boundaries and Chapman pointed to groups like Stryper, a Christian heavy metal band that came along with spandex and long hair, as examples. He maintains that at the time they were viewed as the “radicals and rebels.”

“As time has gone on, you had DC Talk come along and said ‘let’s take rap music, it’s an art form and it’s a style that a lot of people really connect with, let’s take that and use it to proclaim truth and use it to speak messages that are redemptive, and faith filled messages to encourage people,” Chapman explained.

The successful songwriter also praised Kirk Franklin as someone who pushed the boundaries even further and further out for the genre but yet still at the heart and soul of everything maintained the goal and purpose of glorifying God and pointing people to Him.

“[Now], you have everything from singer-songwriters to rappers to all kinds of different styles and different genres. I think that has grown and also the quality of the music,” Chapman celebrated.

“In the early days we fought a lot against Christian music being viewed as a sub par. The production wasn’t as good, we didn’t have as much money to try and spend to make the kind of record that they were making in pop and rock ‘n’ roll music,” he continued. “But over the time as the genre has grown and more and more people have connected with it and bought the records and supported the infrastructure, the more and more we were able to really make better quality music, with the sounds of the recording, which allowed it then to grow even more.”

The Nashville resident explained that people who may have once dismissed the Christian genre and labeled it “substandard” have greatly come around because of groups like Jars of ClaySwitchfoot, and BeBe and CeCe Winans.

“They’re making great music that is woven together with the thread of their faith so I think all of those have helped the genre grow,” he added.

With his newest release Worship and Believe, Chapman delved into the world of worship music, which he says has grown greatly also.

“I can remember when Martin Smith and Delirious first came along singing, ‘I can sing of your love forever,’ and repeating those phrases over and over again. Something really powerful was happening with that. People were really drawn to that,” he recalled. “We’ve seen this whole phenomena of music that was written to be sung together in a corporate context, worshipping together and I’ve watch that give the church songs to sing.”

Chapman spoke of his powerful travels around the world including to China and Africa to some of the most remote places and hearing believers sing together the popular song “How Great is our God.”

“I’m thinking, ‘this is amazing. It’s joined and connected believers all over the world with the same song. That’s been a pretty amazing thing that I’ve seen happen,” Chapman revealed.

Worship and Believe features co-writes from artists such as Matt Maher, Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman and Rend Collective. The album is now available and Chapman is showing no signs of slowing down as he just wrapped up his seven-city tour with fellow Christian music pioneer Amy Grant, and is about to embark on another tour with Third Day starting April 14.

Steven Curtis Chapman, Ottawa, 2014

CHRI’s Dan Adams and Ashley House with Steven Curtis Chapman, May 2014


Ashley’s Five Favourite Podcasts

April 4th, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle
View More: to a podcast is one of my favourite pass times. And one of my favourite times to listen is when I’m getting ready in the morning. Most early mornings you’ll find me standing in front of my mirror, hair-straightener in hand and my cell phone sitting on the counter with a podcast playing. It makes the somewhat mindless & boring task of getting ready so much more productive and entertaining. Here are my top 5 podcasts. Would love to know your favs & suggestions leave a comment below.
  1. Unbelievable?
    unbelievableAn apologetics podcast out of the UK. Love the host Justin Brierley, he’s engaging, fair & has a great accent :) My mind is blown every week with the debates between Christians and Non-Christians. You will learn so much about your faith and about discussing your faith with others.
  2. Building a Story Brand with Donald Miller
    storybrandWe’re big Donald Miller fans around CHRI. We love his marketing mindset & the way he clearly lays out how to reach your audience. If you run a business, are involved in marketing, have a blog or just want to learn about communicating – Donald Miller is your guy. The “Story Brand” podcast recently launched & is full of great tips to make your messaging much more clear.
  3. Planet Money
    planet moneyI am not a money person. My Dad is an accountant so growing up I was (& kind of still am) subjected to a lot of money talk. In my heart I want to care but my non-math mind keeps shutting my heart down. Planet Money discusses money in such a Plain Jane yet entertaining way that they end up tricking you into learning about money. I love the two hosts and that the podcast is only 20 minutes, about all the money talk I can take at one time.
  4. Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast
    andystanleyAsk anyone who knows me who my favourite pastor is and they will tell you Andy Stanley. I quote Andy more that I quote anyone else (other than the Bible of course ;)). “Andy Stanley Leadership Podcast” comes out once a month and literally leaves you pondering about what you heard for the entire month. Everyone should listen to this one.
  5. The Lively Show
    livelyshowThis one’s for the ladies. The podcast is all about being a woman in business. Jess brings on some amazingly talented and successful men and women to talk about balance and perspective in your business and relationships. You’ll want to be her bff and pick her brain after listening to a few shows.
What podcasts are you currently listening to?

Should You Make Your Kids Go to Church?

April 4th, 2016 | 1 Comment | Posted in Lifestyle

An interesting perspective. I’d be interested to know up to what age he thinks you should make them attend and if ensuring you’re attending a church that your child enjoys (activities, Sunday school, etc) is also an important factor.  Do you agree or disagree with Michael’s perspective?– Ashley

kids-churchShort answer? Yes. Absolutely.

But let me pose the scenario for you:

Joshua, our 6 year old, has started going to “big church” this year. He gets approximately 30 minutes of worship and then a 40 minute sermon. More Sundays than not, it’s a struggle. If you asked him, “Joshua, do you want to go to big church?” he would probably answer no. It’s boring. But we make him go.

Should we do that? Here is one reason you could argue why we shouldn’t: we are teaching him a form of legalism. He isn’t going because he has a genuine affection for God but because he’s supposed to. If we keep doing that, he’ll grow up to only do the right thing because he’s supposed to, not because he genuinely wants to. Or he’ll begin to resent church and spirituality altogether and become embittered and rebellious.

Let’s expand the issue from this point. Let’s say that I wake up tomorrow morning and don’t want to read my Bible. Do I do it out of obligation, because I’m supposed to, or do I not?

Do you see how the issue gets a little tricky?

Ideally, I will want to read the Bible. And ideally, our children will be pushing us out the door to church. But it doesn’t always work like that.

I would argue that you make your children go to church even for the same 2 reasons you make yourself read the Bible even when you don’t feel like it.

1) You are acting in faith when you act even though you don’t feel like it. You trust that when you saturate your child in the things of God and the preaching of the gospel that something is going to get through. Eventually God is going to use those moments to bring about an awakening to the truth of faith in his or her life. You believe this, and therefore you act.

Similarly, you believe that the Bible is the Word of God. That it’s living and active and sharp. So you read it in faith, believing that the power of the Holy Spirit to illuminate His word is more powerful than your feelings.

2) Feeding a particular area of life makes it grow. We’ve all experienced this in a negative sense. Think about the escalation of drug addicts. I’ve heard that often addiction begins with experimentation and goes on from there – from something minor to something major. The appetite is fed, and as it is, it grows.

Or this one: It’s easy to sleep in one morning and not exercise. The next day it’s easier than the first day. And so it goes. We feed our laziness, and laziness feasts and grows fat.

Doesn’t it stand to reason the opposite would be true? When we discipline our children to go to church, we are, slowly but surely, feeding their appetite for godliness. It’s one spoonful at a time, to be sure, but in feeding it we are helping it grow.

In the case of ourselves, we feed our appetite for spiritual discipline. For prayer. For study. For meditation. And then the water of the Spirit makes it grow inside of us. So big does that appetite grow that it actually begins to push out other appetites.

And low and behold, we wake up one morning and actually want to read the Bible. Unfortunately, it’s hard to do then because our children are up early asking when it’s time to go to church.


Harvard Studied People for 75 Years & Found that Happiness Comes from One Thing…

April 4th, 2016 | 1 Comment | Posted in Lifestyle

What keeps us happy and healthy as we go through life?

If you think it’s fame and money, you’re not alone – but, according to psychiatrist Robert Waldinger, you’re mistaken.

As the director of 75-year-old study on adult development, Waldinger has unprecedented access to data on true happiness and satisfaction.

In this talk, he shares three important lessons learned from the study as well as some practical, old-as-the-hills wisdom on how to build a fulfilling, long life.


Meet We Are Messengers Frontman Darren Mulligan

April 4th, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Artist Spotlight
Word Records’ recording artist We Are Messengers shares frontman Darren Mulligan’s personal story. Currently based in the United States, this video was taped when Mulligan recently went back to his hometown.

(We Are Messengers release their debut album on April 22)

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at God’s Not Dead 2

April 4th, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Family

Click here for a list of showtimes!

Care Baldwin’s 6 Hanging Basket ‘Pins’ for Spring

April 4th, 2016 | No Comments | Posted in Lifestyle
Not everyone has a backyard (or a front yard, for that matter!) so hanging baskets are a simple way to brighten up your home at springtime. Here are some ‘Pins’ I found that have great ideas. Check out my “Le Jardin” Pinterest Board for more gardening inspiration).