Category Archives: Music & Songs

Posts about music, or containing recordings.

Plug your ears before opening…

I’ve been trying to get more serious about music lately so I’m trying to get a few songs recorded and uploaded.  Unfortunately I only have a built-in laptop mic, free editing software, and I can’t actually play any kind of accompaniment, so it’s a little weak.  If you’re not afraid to blow your eardrums I think the link below should play the latest one for you.

Beautiful Star of Bethlehem (Traditional)


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There CAN Be a More Beautiful You

There’s a new song that’s been played on Christian radio quite a lot lately called “A More Beautiful You” by Jonny Diaz. It’s a very catchy song, and I loved it the first time I heard it. The more I hear it though, the more it bothers me.  Unfortunately, I keep singing along, despite myself, and I have a feeling a lot of people absolutely love the song.

You can listen to the song here:
Or find the full lyrics here:

The first verse is great. It looks at a 14 yo girl who’s looking at a magazine and feeling bad because she’s not perfect like the model she’s looking at. I can’t really identify with that, I’ve never really been concerned with that kind of thing myself, but I know a lot of girls are, and I’m sure Mr Diaz had great intentions with the song. Who doesn’t want to help people realize their inner beauty?

The problems I have start with the chorus, and the overall message of the song.

There could never be a more beautiful you

The fact is, there CAN be a more beautiful you. Whoever you are, wherever you are, you are not perfect. That’s the entire point of the Christian message. If we were perfect the way we were Christ never would have had to die for us. Non-Christians are not perfect the way they are, they need a savior to cover their sins with His blood. Christians are not perfect the way we are, we should constantly be striving to put off the old self and conform to Christ. Without a constant struggle to improve ourselves, we cannot be right with God.

There can be a more beautiful you, and he or she looks an awful lot more like Christ than you do now.

Don’t buy the lies disguises and hoops they make you jump through
You were made to fill a purpose that only you could do
So there could never be a more beautiful you

This part bugs me on another level. Were we made to fill a purpose that only we can do? I can’t think of a scripture that supports this idea. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m pretty sure it’s not there. It’s a popular idea…. We’re all unique and great and God made each of us for a specific reason and purpose and task. There’s a perfect mate for us out there and God made him/her as a perfect match and together we’ll make the perfect family yadda yadda yadda. Yeah, it’s a great thought. But I don’t think it’s Biblical.

God does not need you. Yes, God wants you to come to Him. He cares for you so deeply that even if you were the only one left on this earth worth saving He would have made a way to bring you home. He came and died for you. He wants you to return that love and to work in His kingdom, helping to save others and bring them home. But he doesn’t need you. He is all powerful, almighty, and all knowing. If you’re a Christian, you chose to accept Him as Lord, and He’s made a place for you in His body. Sure, there is work for you to do, but if you turn away from Him tomorrow and go your own way… if you lay down your cross and stop doing the work He’s apportioned to you, He will find another worker to fill the position. You are not so unique that God can’t live without you. God does not depend on you. If you believe you are indispensable to God you are believing a lie. 

We should be secure in our faith, and we should be more concerned about our hearts than our bodies. There’s no reason to turn anorexic or get surgery because you want to look like the model in a magazine. In that I applaud Mr Diaz. But the chorus teaches something that is antithetical to true Christianity. There CAN be a more beautiful you, and you should always be striving to become that person.

The second verse is much like the first, but lays out a now-21-year-old who has made compromises in her life. Setting up a picture of someone who has done wrong and now needs to repent, but still has a bad self-image. The bridge confuses me a bit.

So turn around you’re not too far
To back away be who you are
To change your path go another way
It’s not too late you can be saved
If you feel depressed with past regrets
The shameful nights hope to forget
Can disappear they can all be washed away
By the one who’s strong can right your wrongs
Can rid your fears dry all your tears
And change the way you look at this big world
He will take your dark distorted view
And with His light He will show you truth
And again you’ll see through the eyes of a little girl

“You’re not too far to back away and be who you are” – So she’s really not this person who has made mistakes in her life and needs to fix them? She’s really this innocent little girl who she used to be? What kind of nonsense is that? The second two lines are right on. It’s never too late, and you can be saved. In fact, it’s right on up to the last 3 lines, then it loses me again. “He’ll take your dark distorted view and show you truth and you’ll see through the eyes of a little girl” what does that mean? It probably wouldn’t sound odd except for the context of first few lines here, when you combine them it sounds like she’s just been looking at her life wrong and really she’s not bad at all, she hasn’t made compromises and done anything wrong, she’s just looking at everything the wrong way.

This song is confusing at best, and I’m sure Mr Diaz didn’t have bad intentions, but it reeks of psycho-babble that has nothing to do with Christianity. Since the chorus, that’s repeated over and over, is so misguided I just can’t help but be offended by it when I hear it now. It’s too bad, because it really is a great song, musically.


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Updates to my site, etc

It’s been a very long time since I updated my main web page. I probably would have gotten rid of it a long time ago if not for the Praise Songs Database that I keep up there. Since that gets used on a fairly regular basis I’ve been working on it a bit the past few days.

I will probably overhaul the rest of my site as I get a chance, but for now I’ve added a new ‘printable’ view for the songs, and I’m also adding mp3 recorded versions (by yours truly) of the songs so that viewers will be able to hear the tune rather than just seeing the lyrics. I’m slowly working on getting the songs recorded, so only about 30 of them are up right now.

I’ll add the others as I get them done, and the updates will be dynamic. If you see a musical note by a song title that means the song has a recorded version. Please be kind, these are quick and dirty recordings, a capella, and are not intended to be professional quality :D

I’m considering selling a cd of all the songs when I get them done, but it will be mainly for reference use for worship leaders and the like, and I’d be selling it at or just above cost.

In other news, Flickr deleted my flickr account, they tell me I broke some rule but won’t tell me what, and I’m pretty sure I was careful to avoid all of their weird rules about advertising, so I dunno what the deal is. I doubt I’ll get another account there though, their loss, I was considering paying for their pro version this year.

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online karaoke

So I had an account on kSolo for a while, to amuse myself, and then they up and got bought out by myspace… so I had to re-record everything if I wanted to bother, and I didn’t want to bother for a while. I needed some stress relief the other day though so I recorded a few songs again.

They suck, for the most part, but I had fun with it anyway.

Since I do this kind of thing at 3am in my pj’s I wasn’t about to turn my webcam on :P so it’s just the song, no video.

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Bizarre Evening

So I went to church this morning, and the family that does worship on Sunday mornings made the following announcement: “Not this next Sunday, but the one after that, we’ll be singing at such-and-such church and would love it if ya’all wanted to show up and worship with us.”

The church I go to doesn’t have Sunday evening services, which I hate because that’s the service I’m most likely to be able to attend on a regular basis… so, I’ve been kind of going to different area churches every Sunday evening just to fill the time. Hearing this I thought, great! A place to go.

Once I got home I lost my mind and convinced myself that they had said they were going to be there *tonight*. I couldn’t remember what time tonight though, so I tried to call the pastor, who didn’t answer his phone, so I figured it had to be either 6 or 6:30 and off I went. I got there at 6, and no one was there, and the sign said service was at 7, so I went wandering around town to blow time, and got a big shake at UDF.

Here’s where the evening got interesting lol. I went back to that church around 6:30, and decided to just read some while I was waiting… 6:45 came and no one was there yet, but this is Ohio, so I figured maybe it’s just one of those churches where everyone’s always running late instead of early.

At around 6:50 one car pulled in. Two old guys walked up and peeked around the back of the car towards my open window and one said “can we help you?”. This seemed like a rather odd question at a church on Sunday evening, but I just told him I got there early and was waiting because so-and-so was supposed to be singing there tonight. To which he answered “Uhm, I don’t think so”. I explained better who it was, and he said “Oh, they’re supposed to be here on the 23rd I think”.

Me: “Oh. uhm. well… are you sure?”
Him: “Well you might as well join us anyway”

So I went in. I’m not all that observant, and didn’t realize until I shook his hand that he only had half of his right hand and a hook on the left… shaking three fingers felt a little strange lol. He had to be in his 80s. The other guy is (I found out later) almost 87.

They were the ONLY two people there! Had I not been there, I imagine they would have talked a bit and went home or something, but since I was there.

Him: “Well, I wasn’t going to preach tonight, and the guy that normally does on Sundays called to say he won’t be coming. You don’t preach do you?”
Me: “Uh… no. I can sing but I don’t preach (literally lol).”
Him: “Oh, you sing?!?…”
Me: “Uh, yeah, some.”
Him: “Well, you wanna sing? Morris sings some…”

So I spend the evening singing random hymns (thumbing through hymnals and song booklets trying to find songs that we all (or at least two of us) knew. Most bizarre, but it actually turned out to be fairly fun. I’m always up for singing, and since there were only two of them I didn’t really feel on the spot…

I think they appreciated having someone else there, especially since, as it turns out, they had to drive over 45 minutes to get to the church tonight.

So they’re hoping I come back lol

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Awesome Praise Songs Playlist

I just discovered this site, and had to see what it had. Here’s a collection of 75 of the best praise songs out there… it’s wont’ load inline, so click here to load the player (flash) in a new window.

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Psalms that make you go hmmmm….

Psalm 82 (JPS) – A Psalm of Asaph.

God stands in the devine assembly;
among the devine beings He pronounces judgement.
How long will you judge perversely,
showing favor to the wicked? Selah.
Judge the wretched and the orphan,
vindicate the lowly and the poor,
rescue the wretched and the needy;
save them from the hand of the wicked.

They neither know nor understand,
they go about in darkness;
all the foundations of the earth totter.
I had taken you for divine beings,
sons of the Most High, all of you;
but you shall die as men do,
fall like any prince.

Arise, O God, judge the earth,
for all the nations are Your possession.

Any thoughts?

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Psalm of the day

Titus 3:1-11 (NRSV) – text here is JPS translation…

O Lord, I set my hope on You;
    my God, in You I trust;
    may I not be disappointed;
    may my enemies not exult over me.
O let none who look to You be disappointed;
    let the faithless be disappointed, empty-handed.
Let me know Your paths, O Lord;
    teach me Your ways;

    guide me in Your true way and teach me,
    for You are God, my deliverer;
    it is You I look to at all times.
O Lord, be mindful of Your compassion
    and Your faithfulness;
    they are old as time.
Be not mindful of my youthful sins and transgressions;
    in keeping with Your faithfulness consider what is in my favor,
    as befits Your goodness, O Lord.
Good and upright is the Lord;
    therefore He shows sinners the way.
He guides the lowly in the right path,
    and teaches the lowly His way.
All the Lord’s paths are steadfast love
    for those who keep the decrees of His covenant.
As befits Your name, O Lord,
    pardon my iniquity though it be great.

Whoever fears the Lord,
    he shall be shown what path to choose.
He shall live a happy life,
    and his children shall inherit the land.
The counsel of the Lord is for those who fear Him;
    to them He makes known His covenant.

My eyes are ever toward the Lord,
    for He will loose my feet from the net.
Turn to me, have mercy on me,
    for I am alone and afflicted.
My deep distress increases;
    deliver me from my straits.
Look at my affliction and suffering,
    and forgive all my sins.

See how numerous my enemies are,
    and how unjustly they hate me!

Protect me and save me;
    let me not be disappointed
    for I have sought refuge in You.
May integrity and uprightness watch over me,
    for I look to You.

    O God, redeem Israel
    from al its distress.

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New Database Up

I just uploaded the new Praise Songs Database code. I still have to tweak some things, and figure out why sessionging isn’t working, but it should be somewhat useful for now, and a little better oraganized in any case.

If you get a chance, check it out and let me know what you think. I would appreciate any feedback.

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Little Red Box

Anyone who spent much time in Sunday School, upon reading through my list of Praise Songs might just come back thinking I’ve forgotten a certain popular kid’s song in the list.
One of the most popular songs in jr church when I was growing up was one that went something like this:

  • If I had a little red box (trace a box in the air with your hand)
    to put the devil in (make like you’re putting something in a box)
    I’d take him out and SMASH HIS FACE (pound fist into hand)
    and put him back again!

  • But if I had a little white box (trace a box in the air with your hand)
    To put my Jesus in (make like you’re putting something in a box)
    I’d take him out and *SMOOCH*SMOOCH*SMOOCH* (while pretending to kiss something in your hand)
    and share him with a friend (offer your hand to a friend).

Now, we all know that songs that incorporate actions are very good at keeping the attention of children, and a simple song like that will be remembered for years to come. I’m also certain that the original intent was probably very good. However, there’s a reason that song never made it to my songs list…

Jude 1:9-10 (NRSV) reads:

But when the archangel Michael contended with the devil and disputed about the body of Moses, he did not dare to bring a condemnation of slander against him, but said, “The Lord rebuke you!”

But these people slander whatever they do not understand, and they are destroyed by those things that, like irrational animals, they know by instinct.

We are told to “resist the devil and he will flee”, this is right and good. However, much like the song I quoted above, and other songs (“Demon Killa” comes to mind), it is popular in some circles to go around provoking the devil…

When I see this, my mind immediately flashes to a standard scene in every horror and creature movie where some horrible monster or villain, who has been harassing some character through most of the movie, has finally been outsmarted and trapped by the character. The overconfident character then stands there taunting the monster and bragging about their wit. Anyone who’s seen one of these movies knows that this is the point at which the monster or villain shows it’s true power, and the overconfident character almost always ends up eaten, killed, or severely injured.

Christ has conquered death and won the victory, but until His return, the earth is still Satan’s domain. Satan is not some pathetic, broken and chained monster that we should taunt and provoke for kicks. He’s an angel, albeit a fallen one, and because he has been defeated he is even more determined to bring as many of us down with him as possible. Take care not to underestimate him, lest you wind up like the sons of Sceva.

When face to face with the devil, never allow yourself to stoop to foolishness or arrogance. — do not slander or insult, rather, say a prayer, and allow the Lord to do the rebuking. Romans 16:20 says that the God of peace will soon crush satan underneath your feet, but that does not mean we should act like he’s there already.

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