This week marked the end of the 2017 General Assembly for the Church of the Nazarene, held every four years in Indianapolis Indiana.
I had the privilege of being on two different panels at the Spirit and Truth mini conference while at General Assembly. The conference was sponsored by Nazarene Theological Seminary and the NNU Wesley Society.
In the links below you will find the recordings from both sessions, also featuring Andrea Garcia and Brannon Hancock.
Brannon Hancock and Andrew Garcia join Rick Lee James for a conversation on worship in the context of small, medium, and large churches.
Rick Lee James and Brannon Hancock present Hymn Adaptation and Modernization.
- Listen to all episodes of Voices In My Head featuring Paul Baloche, Walter Brueggemann, Brian Zahnd, Brandon Sipes, Andrew Peterson, Stephen Tobolowsky, Jason Gray, Michael Card and many, many more.
My fellow Christians, this is about as political as I plan on getting.
I’m a Christian. Christians have their own political system.
The Nicene Creed is the Christian’s Constitution
The Sermon on the Mount is the Christian’s bill of rights.
We’ve rarely, if ever, had a candidate in this nation that represented our creed or our sermon.
Love anyway. Don’t panic.
Our holy book tells us that Non-believers will know we are Christians by our love.
I fear that we are coming to be known by our fear, our name calling, our judgmental attitudes, our intolerance, our racism, our homophobia, and our panic.
Remember who you are.
You’re better than this. You’re called to be better than this. Be better than this.
If you don’t know the Nicene Creed or the Sermon on the Mount then you might want to look them up, learn them, and build your life around them. They kind of sum up Christianity. Actually, that’s exactly what they do.
Rethink everything (That’s what repent means)
That’s all I’ve got.
Rick Lee James
What a treat it was to have Dr. Walter Brueggemann on the Voices In My Head Podcast. We had such a great discussion talking about theology, music, and where we will go if we die tonight. This episode was recorded on location at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church in Cincinnati Ohio on Wednesday September 30th.
I hope your September is off to a great start. It’s been a while since I wrote one of these so I thought I should give you some big news.
WHAT IS IT?
I am so excited to announce that Dr. Walter Brueggemann will be joining me on September 11th as my guest on Voices In My Head (The Rick Lee James Podcast). Brueggemann is widely considered one of the most influential Old Testament scholars of the last several decades and has greatly influenced my own thinking.
If you would like to submit a question or comment for me to share with Dr. Brueggemann on September 11th, please email them to VoicesInRicksHead@Gmail.com
We’ve already got some great ones and are only sharing the best ones so put your thinking caps on.
For an archive of our past podcasts go to www.rickleejames.com/podcast
FINISHING THE NEW RECORD
On September 22nd I will be heading back into the recording studio in Nashville Tennessee to finish my new record titled Hymns, Prayers, and Invitations. I’ve been recording extra guitar parts for the album from my home in Ohio and the record is really cooking along now. We still are about $1000 short on funds so if you want to pre-order the record, thus helping to fund the production, you can do so at www.GoFundMe.com/Hymns.
EMPOWERING THE CHURCH
On October 24th I’ll be leading worship and teaching some worship related seminars with Jonathan Burkey at Lima Community Church of the Nazarene in Lima Ohio. You can get more information about this great event at www.nwonaz.org.
IN STORES NOW
BACK TO SCHOOL
On September 14th I will be leading a songwriting seminar on the campus of Cedarville University for students in the worship arts course of study. I’m really excited about the chance to join these great students once a month to help them grow in their craft for the service of the church
OLIVET NAZARENE UNIVERSITY
October 11-13th I have been invited to the campus of Olivet Nazarene University, just outside of Chicago Illinois, to participate in a conversation about worship for the center of faith and culture with other leaders for the Church of the Nazarene. This time together will allow a sustained dialogue concerning worship from a Wesleyan/Nazarene theological perspective, exploring the faithful exercize of worship leadership. Our hope it to move toward a sharedunderstanding and language concerning worship in the Church of the Nazarene
I get two record two episodes of The Voices In My Head Podcast this week.
On Monday I chat with David Morrell and on Thursday I welcome Matt Litton back to the show.
About David Morrell:
David Morrell is the critically author of First Blood, the novel in which Rambo was created. He holds a Ph. D. in American literature from Penn State and was a professor in the English department at the University of Iowa. His numerous New York Times bestsellers include the classic spy novel, The Brotherhood of the Rose (the basis for the only television mini-series to be broadcast after a Super Bowl). An Edgar and Anthony finalist, a Nero and Macavity winner, Morrell is a recipient of three Bram Stoker awards from the Horror Writers Association and the prestigious Thriller Master award from the International Thriller Writers organization. His writing book, The Successful Novelist: A Lifetime of Lessons about Writing and Publishing, discusses what he has learned in his more than four decades as an author. He lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
About Matt Litton:
Matt Litton is an author, editorialist, ghostwriter and editor. A former “award-winning” educator, he has written about faith, culture, books and sports for numerous publications including: The Dallas Morning News, The Huffington Post, CNN.com Religion Blog, Christianity Today, Catalyst Leader, Busted Halo and Relevant.com. Matt assists authors with content development, ghostwriting and editing for books, blogs, and magazine articles. He also helps organizations create engaging teaching or coaching materials.
Matt has a passion for writing stories. He enjoys helping authors, organizations and ministries craft narratives that effectively communicate the message of their own lives and missions in more potent and lasting ways. He fundamentally believes that powerful stories can change lives and affect positive and enduring change in our world.
Matt is author of several of his own books including: Dream Again by Isaiah Austin (with Matt Litton), The Mockingbird Parables: Transforming Lives Through the Power of Story, and Holy Nomad: The Rugged Road to Joy.
For too long in our worship services we have seen the congregation as the audience. In recent years a new emphasis has directed us away from that kind of thinking by helping us to see God as the audience and the congregation as performers for Him. While this metaphor has changed the course of the conversation and helped us to use new language, like referring to the stage as a platform, I don’t think the metaphor has been carried far enough.
The more I reflect on worship in the house of God, the more I want to completely abandon that idea that there is an audience at all. When it comes to worship, maybe there is no audience. Audiences tend to be spectators but they don’t usually contribute to the what is happening in the show they are watching. If it’s a movie, the audience pays their money then they sit back and let the performers on screen do the work. At church we often plunk down our tithe and let the people on the platform do the work.
While I believe the metaphor of seeing God as the audience and His people as the performers is better for helping congregational members to engage more in worship, I still think we can do better. A passive spectator is the furthest thing from what Christianity means when it uses the word God. God is not a passive spectator and neither should His people be, after all, liturgy is the work of the people.
The Christian faith has always affirmed a Creator God who is active in His creation, all of His creation. God is not an academic pursuit for us, God is our source of life who draws near to us, reveals Himself to us, intervenes in our lives, changes us, disrupts our days, dies for us, resurrects for us, and just won’t leave us alone even if we want Him to. You can run from yourself but you can’t run from God.
This week’s guest, Joshua Broward is the co-editor (with Thomas J. Oord) and compiler of a new book called Renovating Holiness which releases January 17th and can be pre-ordered at
Younger leaders around the world are approaching holiness with new eyes, new vision, and a burning passion to help the Church engage the mission of our holy God. Renovating Holiness brings together the stories of 100 plus leaders from more than 30 nations to point towards the continuing movement of God’s Spirit in a new world, offering their thoughts on how the Church of the Nazarene can rethink it’s history, it’s doctrine, and it’s practices to be more effective in the 21st century. Rick Lee James is one of the contributors to this book and proudly welcomes Joshua to his Podcast for a discussion on holiness renovated.
Hardcovers – $14.95 Out of the Depths: A Songwriter’s Journey through the Psalms
Paperbacks – $10.99
DVD’s – $5.99 Basement Psalms Live by Rick Lee James