I’ve had this idea for a while and used the occasion of my wife’s birthday as an excuse to make it. Up front, I will admit that it’s very rough – only because I don’t have a lot of time to put in to these video shananigans (how do you spell that silly word?). It was pretty much a one-take, make it up on the fly kind of deal. I was pleased at my first real attempt at using a green screen, though it was glitchy. My original plan was to arrange the song and perform everything live but as I thought it through, that clearly would have taken a lot more time to learn all the parts. In stead I chose to record it ahead and just make a conventional music video.

I (we) hope you like it! And now…Five Fold Ben performing The Luckiest by Ben Folds! (confusing, I know)

The song is one I have always liked a lot since my friend Andy introduced me to Ben Folds. The original is done with piano and strings and I’ve often felt the song was reflective of my life. Not in the superstitious sense (I don’t believe in luck) but in the sense that I don’t know why, but God has always worked things out for me. That God has reserved great things to bring to my life. And it just makes me feel like my life has been really good – but not because of anything I’ve done.


 

Introducing… 
Songs from the Office


Every week I plan to upload a song on this blog.  The songs I choose will typically be songs I’m working on for Sunday morning (church services).  There won’t be pyrotechnics or choreography – only a raw performance* (with a little reverb) literally recorded in my office.

This week’s song was our opener from this past week’s services.  Today is the Day written by Lincoln Brewster and Paul Baloche.  I thought this would be appropriate for the launch and an anthem for the new decade.

Thanks for checking it out!


*You may notice a weird blurry edit in this video.  There was a technical glitch in my original capture which cut a few seconds out of the song.  I had to do some creative editing to fix it.  If you didn’t notice it then, great, I just pointed it out!


On the last Sunday of the year, at our church, we usually do a family-friendly service with a little different approach. The theme this past Sunday was “You Can’t Take It Back” and it was all about how we communicate with each other. The idea is that once you say something, you can’t take it back so use your words for good, not bad.

One element of the service was a parody I wrote of the song, Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer. I really liked the way it turned out. I’m not sure of all the copyright issues for parodies (I’d have to ask my friend, Al Yankovic on that one) so I’ll just post the original lyrics here. You can sing it yourself. Enjoy!


Insert Shoe 
(Parody of Grandma God Run Over By A Reindeer)
by Ben Chilcote

Once you say a word you can’t unsay it
Words you say are permanent as ink
Once a word is thrown you can’t retrieve it
So make sure you don’t speak before you think


They were dressing for the party
He was putting on his tie
The commotion in the closet
Let him know her favorite dress was growing tight
Then she asked for his opinion
Panic welled up from within
His hesitation gave the answer
Let’s just face it there’s no way that he could win


CHORUS


She was up late on her Facebook
Writin’ emails on the side
Someone’s email made her angry
So she spoke her mind and shot off her reply
Friends on Facebook posted comments
Some were laughing, some appalled
In terror she checked in her sent box
Sure enough her mouse had clicked on “Reply All”! (Reply All!?)


CHORUS


He smiled and said “Congratulations”
Then he exclaimed, “When are you due?”
A sailor would have been embarrassed
By the colorful rebuttal that ensued
If your mouth gets you in trouble
And you don’t know what to do
Either find a hole to jump in,
Or turn away, open mouth and insert shoe


CHORUS

The Technium: 1,000 True Fans

Thank you to my friend Andy for sending me this link. Interesting idea, 1000 True Fans. Basically, it proposes that if you have 1000 True Fans you can make a living in your niche. For me, that would probably mean music. It sure is a tempting venture to pursue.

My musical pursuits have been interesting throughout my life. When I was in high school I actually used to pray that I would get to be in a Christian band some day. After a year or so in music ministry it dawned on me that I play in a (more or less, cover) band every week. My prayer came true.

I won’t deny that time to time I daydream about what it would be like to be a full-time performer. It would so work for me, too. My wife doesn’t work and our kids our homeschooled so they could all come with me (if my family couldn’t join me, there’d be no deal)

To be honest, for me to pursue a music career right now would be self-serving. I can say for certain that God isn’t giving me any hint that He wants me to pursue a music career – even a side hobby career. For now, I’ll continue to explore things like this blog, my other blog, and above all, obedience to God because I did, after all, make him in charge of my life.

I’m not naive, though. I’ve had many people over the years make comments to me that have made me confident that God has gifted me in a way to use music to minister to people. That is also a tempting venture to pursue. But I need to make sure my motives are right and that I’m not just trying to be popular. Or do things so people will compliment me and make me feel good about myself. God gave me my gifts to serve others and He will be the one to take care of my and my family’s needs. I’m pretty sure that’s what Jesus meant when He said seek first the Kingdom of God.

In the coming year I have some ideas to use my gifts to share with others over the internet. So for my 3 True Fans, stay tuned!

As a worship leader I preview a good amount of Christmas music to use in our services. Over the years there have been a few that I always come back to. Here are three of my favorite slower songs for Christmastime.


Mary’s Prayer by Bebo Norman.
Sleep baby Jesus
Close your weary eyes
Hide yourself in faithful dreams
Before yo live yor life
Slip away to heaven
And rest in gentle peace
Never to awaken
The Lord your soul to keep

Cause your feet will walk on water
Your eye will pierce the dark
Your heart will save the souls of men
Your hands will bear the scars

Sleep baby Jesus
For now your time has come
To heal the wounded leper
To calm the raging storm
With perfect steps of perfect grace
You leave behind your fear
And walk along these dusty roads
Though your fate is clear

‘Cause your feet walk on water
Your eyes pierce the dark
Your heart will save the souls of men
Your hands will bear the scars

Sleep baby Jesus
My Father and my child
Beneath this broken cross of sin
Stained with men’s denial
And though you now are breathless
With thorns upon your head
Your body has been broken
So your children can be fed

‘Cause your feet have walked on water
Your eye have pierced the dark
Your heart as saved the souls of men
Your hands now bear the scars


A Cradle Prayer by Rebecca St. James.
Jesus I love you my Lord my life
Where would I be without you
Here in the quiet, the still, the night
I am in awe of you

Trials may come and friends they may go
What really matters is you my Lord

Beautiful Savior my God, my friend
I am in awe of you
Lord I am in awe of you

Trials may come and friends they may go
What really matters is you my Lord

Jesus I love you my Lord my life
Where would I be without you
Here in the quiet, the still, the night
I am in awe of you

Why would you, Creator and King
Come as a baby for all, for me

Beautiful Savior, my God, my friend
I am in awe of you
I am in awe of you


Welcome To Our World by Chris Rice.
Tears are falling, hearts are breaking
How we need to hear from God
You’ve been promised, we’ve been waiting

Welcome Holy Child
Welcome Holy Child

Hope that you don’t mind our manger
How I wish we would have known
But long-awaited Holy Stranger
Make Yourself at home
Please make Yourself at home
Bring Your peace into our violence
Bid our hungry souls be filled
Word now breaking Heaven’s silence

Welcome to our world
Welcome to our world

Fragile finger sent to heal us
Tender brow prepared for thorn
Tiny heart whose blood will save us
Unto us is born
Unto us is born
So wrap our injured flesh around You
Breathe our air and walk our sod
Rob our sin and make us holy

Perfect Son of God
Perfect Son of God
Welcome to our world

In my final blog post tribute to Fourth Avenue, I share Fourth Avenue’s Promotional Video featured on their YouTube Channel. (They have a bunch of recent concert video footage posted there.)

Like I said, Fourth Avenue was a great experience. I traveled to about a dozen states (or more) and even got to travel to the Netherlands to sing on a new Holland-American cruise liner. (We were paid entertainment on the docked ship while VIPs toured the new vessel for 2 days.)

Check out www.fourthavenue.com. If you’re interested in a cappella and supporting local artists, purchase the newest CD, High Energy Harmony. This was recorded live while I was still in the group and is a really good cd. And if you ever get a chance, check out Fourth Avenue in concert – they still put on a really great show!


While in Fourth Avenue we were asked to come back for a second commercial. I forgot to mention that in the first commercial we were officially “menacing urban youth”.  In this commercial we were supposed to be like a boy band (I think) – this was when boy bands were still hip!

This commercial was also shot in Columbus at a restaurant (obviously). I don’t think it got as much air play as the first one. It was pretty fun to be part of it. During this time we did a whole slew of school shows and we sang the jingle each time. It got kind of old but sort of made us a one-hit wonder in a way… Enjoy!