Posts Tagged ‘Pastor Mike Burwell



09
Mar
09

U2 “No Line on the Horizon” Album Review

Okay so today I went to R&R Coffee here in the Black Forest and got a cup of Forest Mist Dark Roast (a signature blend…mmm), then I went next door to the Post Office and mailed back a washing machine part we didn’t need, I went to PetCo and bought some fish for my tropical tank, and I went to Target and bought the new album by U2 on CD.  Not a bad set of errands.  PetCo’s doing 5 for $5 tropical fish, R&R Coffee has a self service on drip that is less expensive and better than anyone around, and Target had the CD on sale.  The only thing I didn’t get a deal on was the washer pump (waste of shipping $!).  Can’t win em’ all, but in the process I got the new offering from one of rock’s most enduring bands.

First I will say that listening to Bono sing is worth the price of admission alone no matter the quality of the album.  What is that price you ask?  iTunes carries it for $9.99 album only or $17.99 which includes an hour-long movie featuring the music of the band as a part of the download (by Anton Corbjin who is the band’s favorite photographer).  Not bad.  If you prefer hard copy (and for those who lament the lost pleasure of album artwork who doesn’t?) Target has it on sale this week: album alone is $9.99 as well or you can get a cool deluxe edition for $21.99 which includes the album plus a poster, a mini book, and finally a download of aforementioned movie.  If you really want to go crazy you can get the whole thing bundled with DVD version of the movie for $64.99.  $9.99 seemed like the right choice for me although I will admit I had the deluxe edition in my hand for more than a few minutes.

Okay so with a 30+ year history behind them, who doesn’t like U2?  It used to be if someone said U2 was lame folks would give them the luxury of personal opinion, but today saying U2 is lame is like calling Bob Dylan a two-bit horseshoe farrier. Yeah, you would be called crazy.  Here’s my overarching assessment of their output over the years: they consistently outshine every other alternative band in history but they run out of gas 75% through almost every release.  It’s true.  I mean, you really have to be a major fan of their creative muse to like “Mothers of the Disappeared” for example (from “Joshua Tree”).  But 75% of U2 is 100% better than 99% of the artists in the world so who’s complaining?  If we have to suffer “Please” we still get “Do You Feel Love” (from “Pop”) or if we have to endure “Peace on Earth” we still get to revel in “Kite” (from “All That You Can’t Leave Behind”).  All that to say I always expect to enjoy most of a new U2 album, but plan to be bored or let down by a chunk of it (kind of like a new Hillsong release or the skillets at Village Inn).

For this effort they ran through a series of producers (big names like Rick Rubin) and finally landed with three guys who have consistently delivered for them over the years: Daniel Lanois, Brian Eno and a few by Steve Lillywhite.  So expect the album to have some sounds that hearken your favorite U2 stuff from previous years.

I scanned a review that said something about U2 getting criticism for their last album, “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” because they didn’t risk enough on it and this album was theoretically a response to that critique but I don’t hear it.  It sounds very much like “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” era U2 which is not to say it’s bad, I just don’t get the whole exploring-new-territory thing.  U2 on this album sounds like we would expect U2 to sound.  Anthemic, bluesy, and pulsating (all that’s missing from early U2 is the passion).  That’s why we listen to them over and over right?  U2 is a sonic soundtrack for our lives.  Our lives in the car, in the kitchen, on the bike, at work, on TV, gosh you can place U2 just about anywhere and it plays well.  So expect the familiar and that’s okay, well better than okay, it’s downright good.

“Get on Your Boots” was the first single released (to mixed reviews) and I was excited because it sounded like a band that was in fact looking to reinvent.  But as track #6 it sounds oddly out of character with the album up until that point.  The new fresh sound comes only after familiar territory.  Funny, as I listened the first time as each track came on it sounded like a different U2 album from the past.  I wonder if this was intentional by the band. Almost a retrospective without being retrospective.  I actually spent a little time linking each song to a previous U2 work, but I will spare you the list due to the length of this post.  Try it yourself, it’s fun.

As a leadoff cut “No Line on the Horizon” is a dud.  The title suggests that the band is looking forward with no boundaries which implies uncharted waters.  Can anyone else hear the blatant nod to “Until the End of the World” in the guitar riff?  That’s from 1990 and it’s funny because that song was written for a movie soundtrack where they were supposed to try and write in a style of where music would be 10 years from the writing.  They should have started the album with “Magnificent” which really shines as a classic U2 groove and overarching melodies.  Still, like a good road trip, this album gets better as it travels further and explores more.  That’s a first for U2 with me: I enjoyed the 2nd half more (One exception is “FEZ-being Born” which is out of place and belongs at the end of the album or somewhere else).  “Unknown Caller” has a rare Edge guitar solo, which was very refreshing to hear.  “White as Snow” is hauntingly beautiful (and correct me if I am wrong but isn’t that the melody line to “O Come Emmanuel”?).  Bono is in good form with his wink-of-the-eye one-liner lyrics (“gotta stand up to ego but my ego’s not really the enemy”) and the album just sounds great sonically.

So in summary, if you like U2 you will like this CD; I do and I did.  It doesn’t break new ground but it’s everything we want in U2.  Not bad for $9.99.  I can listen to it over and over again too and probably will (can’t recycle that coffee and get the same bank for the buck now can I?).

On a final, Christian worldview note, I will say that it was refreshing and nice to have Bono singing about his faith so positively on the last album, but unfortunately there’s not a ton of that going on here.  We get that old 90’s style of faith from Mr. Vox.  It’s a sardonic and slightly jaded religiosity that filters though.  I recall seeing him wearing one of those “COEXIST” hats on TV last year at an AIDS rally.  Is Jesus still the only true way to salvation for Bono or does he now espouse the ever so popular one-world religion that prevails these days?  In “Breathe” he sings, “St John Divine on the line, my pulse is fine.”  Seems he hates religion, but then again don’t we? At one time Bono and the Edge wanted to abandon their careers in music and become pastors, but that was over 20 years ago. It’s almost as if when he says “stop helping God across the road like a little old lady” in “Stand up Comedy” he’s singing to himself, the Bono-Christ.  I am happy that my faith remains unshaken.  Why don’t you all pray for Bono when you finish reading this, okay?

07
Mar
09

Coldplay a Guitar Influence?

Okay so I was casually listening to the album “Parachutes” by Coldplay and something jumped out at me that I never really noticed before.  The main riff and guitar solo in “Yellow” seems to be the template for almost every single contemporary worship guitar solo that has happened ever since.  Now when one thinks of guitar influences, most especially in the last 10 years, certainly Coldplay doesn’t jump to mind.  (In fact, I wonder if there has even been a major guitar influence in the last 20 years.  A friend of mine was explaining that Matthew Bellamy from Muse is a big deal but unfortunately, I couldn’t hear the major leap I think that all electric guitarists are secretly hoping for.  But that’s just me.)  Nevertheless in “Yellow” that solo is the style that every electric guitarist in the modern church has had to either a) learn or b) doesn’t know anything else exists.  It’s the 8th note, two tone (think 2 strings), all downstrokes, just north of broken sound, with delay on it.  Yeah you could say that came from the Edge, and it’s pretty obvious that Coldplay’s biggest influence is U2 (by admission from the band, but then again they also claim Delirious? is an influence.  But hey, Delirious? is most influenced by, you guessed it, U2).  I have heard “Yellow” many times and never put 2 and 2 together until this last listen.  It was released in 2000 and became a bona fide hit (#5 in UK) and it broke the band to a worldwide audience that embraced a new fresh sound (that sounded like u2 and Delirious? but that’s a niggling detail for anyone under 18 at the time).  Okay so to wrap up:

1) Most Christian guitarists and Christian artists I know listen to and love Coldplay

2) “Yellow” is one the band’s most popular songs and has this guitar solo/riff in it

3) Since 2000 most modern worship has guitar solos that sound like “Yellow.”  

You listen to the song and tell me what you think.  But prior to 2000 if modern worship even had a guitar solo, it certainly didn’t sound like everything coming out of Hillsong and the Passion guys.  Weigh in!

02
Feb
09

The Future of Music

CD sales have dropped.  A friend of told me that the #1 selling CD in the US last week only moved 63,000 copies.  This is insane when you figure that not too long ago hard copy CD sales could exceed 2 Million on the first week of release of a popular artist’s latest recording. 

According to marketingcharts.com “Enders forecasts that overall music sales in 2009 will be half the level of the peak of the CD boom.”

I quote the IFPDI Digital Music Report 2008: “Tens of billions of illegal files were swapped in 2007. The ratio of unlicensed tracks downloaded to legal tracks sold is about 20 to 1.”

The Economist on January 10th said: ” In America, according to Nielsen SoundScan, the volume of physical albums sold dropped by 19% in 2007 from the year before—faster than anyone had expected. For the first half of 2007, sales of music on CD and other physical formats fell by 6% in Britain, by 9% in Japan, France and Spain, by 12% in Italy, 14% in Australia and 21% in Canada. (Sales were flat in Germany.) Paid digital downloads grew rapidly, but did not begin to make up for the loss of revenue from CDs.…”

I wonder what this means?  Is it that paid music is gone, or at least going?  Or is it that music is going?  I do not think it’s music.  Since music was invented by God for His purposes, maybe God is just taking it back.

God has a purpose and a plan for how He will use His creation to further the Kingdom.  We need to be willing to be used by Him in this new global revolution.

My friend put it this way: “People still want music, just the format will change. I really feel that the Lord is almost holding something back from our understandig at this moment, but it will be revealed shortly.”

More to come…

18
Jan
09

When all Around Has Fallen

One the best songs ever written is “When All Around Has Fallen” by Martin Smith of delirious?  This song has ministered to me over the years on many occasion.  Music has a unique quality in that, even when we are not open to it, it has the power to pierce through our human walls and drive an emotional lightening bolt or even act as warming honey to our hurting souls.   Sometimes, even at the most unsuspecting of moments, music calls and draws us out from the darkest places.  But just as powerfully, it can take an emotional and spiritual high and, just like lift to a bird or airplane, raise us up even higher than we thought possible in a magical kind of way.  It is no wonder I have come to the conclusion that music was created by God, for His purposes.  It is a supernatural thing.  

The song “When all around has fallen” acknowledges our human frailty, but also honors the true faithful.  (The line “you used to be a king here” makes me think of the times when we find ourselves on the mountaintop, and we live there for some time, there creeps in a sense of ownership and appointment by God.  Yes, God does use man to accomplish His purposes, and chooses to promote and to cast down.  This is a radical concept and reality that affects us all.  But I have seen that some people focus on the “anointing” a bit too much, often in my experience, to the point where they are looking and seeking for an anointed person, and when they find that person, they lift them up.  They feel compelled to tell that person how anointed they are and they lift that person onto a pedestal.  This can create in a person like myself a strong sense of obligation to fulfill those people’s needs and expressed desires.)

Martin Smith has a way of being open and honest in his lyric writing.  Often times I feel as if I am getting a peek into his personal journal when I listen to his music.  That certainly goes for this song.  It expresses in a profound and deep way the things I have walked through the past few weeks.  Today I was on my way back from a lunch with a dear friend and local worship pastor and I put this song on.  I stopped by our regional park and just sat and listened to it and let the words minister to me.  I’ll admit, any song that has a Jesus perspective in it sometimes comes off as irreverent to me.  I often think, “who is man to think he can identify with Jesus?”  But since I have been through a personal tragedy of lifetime-changing proportions, I am just now beginning to understand what Paul refers to in Philippians 3:10 as the “fellowship of his suffering.”

“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death”

This past year contained the most shocking surprise of my life; that of betrayal.  I never thought the things that transpired were possible to happen to my family and me.  But for some reason, God allowed this to happen.  I praise God that in times like this we can turn to Jesus and he will lift us up, carry us, and give us the peace that passes all understanding, reminding us that the really important things in life are unchanging.

When All Around Has Fallen

When all around has fallen your castle has been burned
You used to be a king here now no one knows your name
You live your life for honour, defender of the faith
But you’ve been crushed to pieces and no one knows your pain

Come, come lay your weary head be still my friend
Come, rise I’ll place my sword upon your shoulder
Come, rise with me

When tomorrow has been stolen and you can’t lift your head
And summer feels like winter your heart is full of stone
Though all your hopes have fallen your skin is now your only armour
Wear your scars like medals defender of the faith

Come, come lay your weary head be still my friend
Come, rise I’ll place my sword upon your shoulder
Come, come lay your faithful head, be still my friend
Come rise with me

Written by Martin Smith ©1995 Curious? Music UK

03
Jan
09

A Biblical Perspective of Music

A few nights ago we were at Village Inn and the manager came over and mentioned that he really enjoyed my sermon from last July on a Biblical perspective of music.  He summed it up concisely when he said “garbage in garbage out, that’s what I always say.”  He’s right.  Our consumption will dictate our behavior.  It makes me wonder sometimes why people treat others in an incompassionate way.  Could it be that we are seeing the reaping of what they are sowing in media intake or self-talk? 

Well his comments motivated me to post the sermon here on my blog for you all to hear.  I have also added the diagram I refer to in the message for reference.  I got a lot of positive feedback and testimonies when I originally gave this teaching – I pray this will bless you all and help you in your walk with the Lord.

music-graphic

10
Dec
08

Easter 2008 Video

I have added a new video and it’s of our Easter service earlier this year.  As far as Easter services over the years go, I will say this is likely my favorite program we ever did (and we did it 5 times that weekend).  It was the first time we played songs (originals) we wrote in-house on a Resurrection Weekend.  The service you see here (6:30PM Saturday) is actually where “With all the Heavens” and “Salvation’s Story” from the worship:three CD came from.  Everyone involved on all fronts was just fantastic and I really  believe Jesus was properly honored and 75+ people made first time decisions for Christ!  It’s a little hard to watch if you know what I mean…I sure loved MSC and the assignment we had…

(Might take a long time to load based on your internet connection speed.  Sermon edited out for file size/load time.)

I’d like to hear your comments to so please post some replies…

21
Jul
08

The Dark (K)night

Today my wife and I are in lovely Estes Park Colorado taking a few days break and enjoying each other’s company.  After 21 years of marriage she is still far and away my favorite person in the whole world.  A newspaper was outside our hotel door this morning so we perused it over breakfast.  USA Today reported that the new Batman movie will likely smash all box office records and only stop short of Titanic for overall gross revenue.  This breaks my heart.  Only a few weeks ago I spoke in church about making good media choices and to evaluate humbly before the Almighty God (who calls us to holiness) what we are consuming.  I wonder how many Mountain Springs members who said “amen” in church to good choices stood in line for hours to see this movie?  

My son (17) was offered a free ticket by some friends at church on Friday night and he turned it down.  He had seen a trailer for the movie and sensed a warning in his spirit about the film.  He wanted to see it, but opted out.  I am proud of his choice.  You may wonder if I think that seeing this film will corrupt you.  No, one film (or song, or video game, etc) will not cause you to turn your back on God and sin habitually for the rest of your life.  Now if you live in that place and feed yourself on that garbage, yes of course it will.  But I want to focus on another point, the fact that God may just well be allowing darkness to cover this land of ours. 

There have been many prophetic words of late from people I trust and who hear clearly from God, that God might well be allowing this to happen.  Due to habitual sin and turning our backs on Him and His ways, He is now lifting the hedge of protection on us.  Precedent is set for this all throughout the Bible, and having just come off of a study of the wilderness experience of the Israelites, I can see how the God of judgment in the Old Testament many times dealt with those who turned their backs on Him very harshly.  The first book written in the Bible reports an interesting exchange between God and Satan on this point.  Job 1:9-10a reads “So Satan answered the Lord and said, “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have you not made a hedge around him, around his household, and around all that he has on every side?”  Then in verse 12a God says “behold all that he has is in your power…”  It appears that God places hedges of protection and blessing and then also makes the decision to lift them. 

Kay Arthur recently said that “calamity” is coming to America because we have not done the things we should as a church.  John MacArthur believes we are seeing the “debased mind” spoken of in Romans 1 right in our midst and God will do as he says in verse 28 “God gave them over to a debased mind.”  Our very own Senior Pastor Steve Holt speaks of the “restrainer” lifting off of America.  Another prophetic word from a member of our body came on Tuesday last week and said in part “It is a time similar to when the angel of death passed over the homes. It is now night time America, and you will now go to sleep in the bed you have made.” 

Which brings me back to The Dark Night…I mean Knight.  The new Batman movie is nothing short of a horror flick that pluggedinonline.com says “The Joker forces us to imagine every cut and tear. He makes Jigsaw from the torture-porn Saw flicks look positively ethical.”  Fellow Jesus followers, I say this to you – we are called to be “salt and light” and a “city on a hill” by Jesus (read Matthew 5:13-14).  We were rescued out of darkness into His marvelous light, to proclaim His praises (1 Peter 2:9).  We are called to preach the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to everyone (Acts 1:8 and Mark 16:15).  We are called to holiness and yet we fill our hearts and minds with putrid garbage. 

A woman in our church wrote me an email today regarding the message I brought about redemptive and non-redemptive qualities of media we intake.  She said “Your chart has helped me nail down why I take part in certain things and not others, why we allow Cinderella but not Aladdin.  I could never explain it before.  I have always just said that God has different rules for different families about some things, and for our family, we feel He has us do one thing or the other.  Now I have a tangible way to explain it to the girls.”  So if it’s so obvious to this mom, why did so many of us “Christians” go see a flick this weekend that glorifies heinousness?  

USA Today reports that it should have been rated R – I understand most people and reviewers are saying this.  Interesting that in this same newspaper there was an article about people abandoning Christianity because they couldn’t believe that a “good” God would allow so much hurt and pain the world.  The Dark Knight’s villain “The Joker is as horrific a villain as I’ve ever seen onscreen—an embodiment of nihilism, a manifestation of pure, unapologetic evil.” And we spent over $150 million just this weekend to glorify this monstrosity.  Yet we immediately blame God for all the “bad” stuff in the world?  Does anyone see the double standard here besides me?




Categories

July 2022
M T W T F S S
 123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25262728293031

Top Clicks

  • None