Archives For klampert

shaken_bethel

It seems that every time Bethel music announces a new project I find myself giddy with anticipation. (In the most manly bearded way of course) They have been churning out new music at a rate that rivals the machine we call Hillsong, but it has been refreshingly different as well as being worship that pierces the spirit.

When I heard about “We will not be shaken” and started seeing the promo images of a large crowd on a mountain I was expecting a melding of a “Loft sessions part Duex” with “Tides Live and uncensored”.  I sat on this album for a few weeks now trying to think of the best way to review it because I have, for the most part, walked away from each listen pretty unsatisfied. I am going to try to explain why.

I have said it many times on my blog before but the thing that I am always looking for in a worship album is that feeling of the groan of the Holy Spirit. It is not something that is based on tempo and it is not based on the perfect worship pattern/swell to manipulate the emotions. It is intangible, but you know it when you listen and are wrecked by God and every hair stands up on your body.

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.” – Romans 8:26

I know much of music is personal and so is this review because what I feel, you might not so please dig in for yourself. I remember when I put in the Jeremy riddle album “furious” and I was hit with songs that seemed to go into my ears and directly into my spirit. The same the first time I heard Steffany-Frizzel Gretzinger sing “closer”. I heard it before it came out because they led it at a service at Bethel and it was put on youtube. I had that video on repeat for what seemed to be 3 days. There was such a desperation, amazing awe, and praise that sprung from the deep.

I am not sure why, but I feel like this album is lacking in this area.

“We will not be Shaken” is sung beautifully, but the lyrics call for a sound that is a war cry. We WILL NOT!!!! I do like this song and It reminds me so much of brian and Jenn’s “we believe” album, but I feel the lyrical content doesn’t match the sound.

“Ever Be” Is a nice track that feels like two distinct songs somehow mashed together, but the chorus unites it nicely. This one I can see many churches doing and the hook gets stuck in your head.

The McClures have a nice track with “Jesus, We Love You”.

“Nearness” with Jenn Johnson has a nice feel and gets really awesome musically in the chorus. I love the unique driving section to it. The lyrics are great even though “Comforter You are to me” would sound really funny saying it to somebody.

There is, what can be best described as a modern hymn, in “Seas of Crimson” by Johnson and Bashta. At first it was hard to like this one even though I am a huge fan of hymns, but this one is growing on me quickly.

The HUGE standout is “No Longer Slaves” by Jonathan Helser. As a matter of fact I started leading this one in my church a week ago. I think the Helsers are a brilliant addition to the Bethel family and this song oozes of authenticity and passion. This is what I wish the rest of the album felt like. Again I am not talking tempo. Steffany Gretzinger’s “undoing” was crazy slow, but still felt like this because it was raw and drew you in.

So here is the deal: Should you buy this album? Because I am a fanboy and also because I don’t buy singles I would have bought this one for sure, but there are only a few tracks on here I like and the rest I’m lukewarm to. When I look at the videos and see the photos of the large crowd on the mountain it makes me wonder why that wasn’t more prevalent in the audio. There are a few moments when you can hear the mass of people, but in most cases this feels like a studio album. What I think is interesting is the visuals seem to represent a declaration over their city and a breathing life into dry bones. The music however seems so much more introspective and personal. There is a disconnect for me there and it’s possibly because of my artistic side.

I think you need to listen to this with no preconceived notions. Walking into this with expectations that it would be a Loft Sessions meets Tides concoction of amazingness was most likely not the best plan.

My personal requests for the next two albums:
1. Record an album with Jenn Johnson, Jonathan Helser, and amanda cook. I think this mix would bring power, brilliant lyrical content, and a prophetic edge
2. Record a double CD of Jeremy Riddle and Steffany Gretzinger together. Maybe some new tracks and some old and the rest no plan other than letting those two take us to church!

8th blogiversarry

August 5, 2014 — 2 Comments

My blogiversarry came and went; I started blogging in June 2006, about the time my family moved to RI. It’s been 8 years now as a blogger. Yesterday I posted my 800th blog post. There has been close to 6,000 comments and a few hundred thousand hits (fb and twitter changed those things for the worse).

I am amazed at the insights that have come from blogging. As I look back at my digital journal I can see all the places that God moved in my life. I can see the months where I walked away from my site to focus on a newborn child that was now in my home. I am in awe of the connections God has given me and opportunities He has blessed me with because this site existed. I have stood back as I watched God heal others through my writing and pouring out what he was speaking to me. Even more importantly I am floored at the friendships I have that were born out of a digital world and made tangible and irreplaceable.

I started the blog to equip church leaders… God had a much better plan for it. I can see 8 years of personal growth. It’s in black and white the times where I doubted and failed. And now it is documented proof of a gracious God who in his great mercy gave me some of the most priceless memories, friends and treasures anybody could ask for.

NEVER lose the wonder.

June 19, 2014 — 2 Comments

wonderEvery time my wife and I take our four kids to a hotel, the first thing they do is run around to every room and explore. They jump on the beds, check out all the cool things, play with the hair dryer (even though we have one at home) and gawk at the outdated TV. They love to explore new things and are in a state of wonder when we go to new places. It is actually pretty cool to watch them flutter around discovering amazing treasures.

Matthew 18:3 says “And he said: ‘Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.'”

Children live in wonder. Where anything is possible. Remember those days? The days when grabbing an old towel and wrapping it around our neck instantly turned us into superman and we were able to fly. When our toys came to life… When our playroom became an amphitheater and moms cooking pots were our drum set begging to be played for a sold out crowd.

Being adults makes us jaded and hard over time and we lose the wonder. The grace and mercy of God started well before we thought and it goes on forever. Because of Jesus and his great mercy we are adopted orphans of God. We now have access and can approach with boldness the King of kings. Such mystery and wonder and yet our calloused souls forget all about it.

Imagine God is like that hotel… We race around and go from room to room and learn more about Him. We explore in excitement, share our findings and discover God had planned greater things than we imagined. In a normal hotel, once all the rooms have been explored the fun is over, but With God the rooms are never ending.”

Job 11:7-9 “Can you fathom the mysteries of God? Can you probe the limits of the Almighty? They are higher than the heavens above—what can you do? They are deeper than the depths below—what can you know? Their measure is longer than the earth and wider than the sea.”

Every time we think we have God figured out another door in the “hotel” opens. May we NEVER lose the wonder.

Seeking Allah, Finding JesusA Devout Muslim Encounters Christianity
By: Nabeel Qureshi

Dr. Nabeel Qureshi is a former devout Muslim who was convinced of the truth of the Gospel through historical reasoning and a spiritual search for God. Since his conversion, he has dedicated his life to spreading the Gospel through teaching, preaching, writing, and debating.

I have always been intrigued by other faiths and their journey and practice. Even more so I have been excited to read accounts of people who have found the hope of Christ on their journey.

About 2 years ago I discovered a show out of Canada called “Little Mosque on the Prairie”. It was a cute show about Muslims who are stuck having to share a place of worship with Christians. While I know it was a sitcom, it gave me such an appreciation an interest in the faith of the Muslim community. Watching the characters in both faiths interact and have to learn how to coexist was pretty eye-opening to me.

Because of this it was a pleasure to receive this book to review. I have heard stories of Muslims having a dream and meeting Jesus and then getting saved before, but this was different. Nabeel takes us on a journey of real seeking and battling thru mindset shifts and seeking REAL truths that his heart was longing for.

How fitting that “case for Christ” writer, Lee Strobel writes the forward in this pretty amazing journey of faith.

This book as a great read. For the last year I have been co-teaching a mens bible study through the book of acts and this book as been really helpful to get into the head of an eastern mindset. I recommend this book to those in Islam culture who are seeking and for those in the Christian faith to learn how to speak, pray and give grace to those who believe differently.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this BOOK free from BookLookBloggers to review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

EmberGF

Good Friday 2014: We spent a ton of time in prayer, as a church leadership, about our first Good friday service. Our hope was to make an invisible God visible to our congregation in a new way. We wanted it be a clear and a stark contrast to Sunday morning and the resurrection. Easter means so much more when you have to walk the road of the cross with Jesus. We ended up writing a script based on our own spin of the stations of the cross based on the Word. What we were left with was mind blowing and heart wrenching.

Here is our script. All the text copyright 2014 Ember Church (Mark Carpender, Adam Fagan-Kela, Joel Klampert, Ed Pichette II), but we want to make this available to any church that wants to use or any part of it for their services. We hope this blesses your congregation and stirs hearts towards Jesus!

Here is the audio from our service. By the end of the night there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.
The Script is below and has songs we used as well.

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