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Reaping Music Where You Sow It

with Jason Houser | May 9, 2011

Learning the Scriptures shouldn’t be boring. If fact, it can be all-out fun! Today Jason Houser of SEEDS Family Worship and Tom Dodds of the Fighter Verse Song project of Bethlehem Baptist Church, tell how they began "sowing" the scripture into music and what they and others have reaped as a result.

Learning the Scriptures shouldn’t be boring. If fact, it can be all-out fun! Today Jason Houser of SEEDS Family Worship and Tom Dodds of the Fighter Verse Song project of Bethlehem Baptist Church, tell how they began "sowing" the scripture into music and what they and others have reaped as a result.

Reaping Music Where You Sow It

With Jason Houser
|
May 09, 2011
| Download Transcript PDF

Bob:  The same time that, that’s happening at Bethlehem Baptist Church.  Jason, you got a vision for putting Scripture to music.  This was while you were still living in Nashville, right?

Jason:  That’s right.  The whole Seeds Family Worship Ministry began at a church plant.  It is a small church, 250 people.  We had a vacation Bible school.  We were actually in a barn.  The children’s pastor asked me to write some melodies to certain Scriptures for the vacation Bible school—

Bob:  Song writing is your day job?

Jason:  Right.  So, well, yes.  At the time, I was working with the artist Matthew West and writing for his first record.  I produced his first record.  I was kind of in that music vein at the time just real hooky, pop-rock music.  I just wrote these songs for our vacation Bible school to love and serve the kids.

Music:  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, saves those who are crushed in spirit.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.  Psalm 34:18 

Jason:  At the end of that week, I stood on the stage in the barn.  I saw every kid and every teacher singing word for word these five verse songs that we’d written.  The Lord just put it on my heart at the time that there was something special about this.

Music:  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, saves those who are crushed in spirit.  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted.  Psalm 34:18

Dennis:  You’re not just a song writer.  You and your company have written the number one song for George Strait, number one song for Heartland, and also the number one song for Rascal Flatts.

Jason:  Right.  Yes. 

Dennis:  Here you’ve got somebody who is writing some top songs, but now you are using your talent—this is what I get passionate about here—using the talent to take the Bible.

Jason:  Yes.

Dennis:   And help kids hide the Scriptures in their hearts.  Bob, we’re both passionate about this because we’re all about the National Bible Bee that is being hosted again this year, for the third year.  We want to get the word out about the Bible Bee and encourage parents to enroll their children in this.

Bob:  Yes.  For folks who haven’t heard about the National Bible Bee, it is a competition for elementary, middle school, and senior high students.  They have an opportunity to do Scripture memory and Bible knowledge.  They come together and compete in national competition.  Big cash prizes for the winners at the different levels. 

What a great activity, not just for the kids, but for families to engage in together where they’re helping a student memorize these Scriptures.  The whole family is involved in that and learning passages, learning books of the Bible. 

Dennis:  Jason, you actually attended the National Bible Bee—

Jason:  I did.

Dennis:  —last year when it was in Chicago.  What were your impressions of that?

Jason:  It was amazing.  They have got such a great program for families, Bob, as you were saying to me.  It is not just for the kids to memorize Scripture although that is so amazing and important.  There are ways that the family can engage that really help the young people understand the context and the meaning.  It is really about getting God’s word in their heart and the truth in their heart.

Bob:  Thomas, I want to go to the project that you’re involved with at Bethlehem Baptist Church, The Fighter Verse Song Project.  Somebody other than you is picking the verses that are going to be memorized by the church, right?

Thomas:  That’s correct.

Bob:  So, I’m just imagining there are some verses that I would think that would be challenging to try to put a rhythm and a melody to just because of the way the words flow together. 

Thomas:  That’s right.  It can be a big challenge.  You’ve got rhythm problems.  It’s not something where you can cut things out.  You’ve got to make the melodies fit.  It is a series of compromises, but the Lord does give grace for that; so, that we can use modern song structures to help people memorize the Scripture and to plant it deeply in their hearts as Jason was just saying

Music:  Submit yourselves, therefore, to God.  Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.  James 4, verses 7-8a

Submit yourselves, therefore, to God.  Resist the devil….

Dennis:  Sounds to me like it is—kind of like it is some kind of biblical music improv.  You know like you toss out an idea to a comedian, and he’s got to make it work.  You’ve got to build the music around a passage of Scripture, right?

Thomas:  A little bit like that.  We pray to the Lord for His inspiration, though, for sure. 

(laughter)

Bob:  These are all volunteers.  You were telling me earlier that only about a quarter of them are professional musicians.  The rest of them are just kind of old garage band kind of musicians, right?

Thomas:  That’s right.  There’s a number of professional musicians at Bethlehem that have graciously volunteered their time to help out and make sure the quality is near professional quality, which is our goal, to be listenable, singable, and ultimately memorable.

Dennis:  You can go back and tell them, though, that Bob now has tabbed them as garage band.

(laughter)

Bob:  Well, you’re—

Thomas:  That’s me.  That’s me.

Bob:  —you’re an IT guy, right?  You’re an IT guy who plays guitar.  Probably started playing when you were in junior high or high school.

Thomas:  That’s right.  Junior high.

Bob:  Have you written any of these songs?

Thomas:  I just started writing on this next set; so, I’m starting to do that. 

Bob:  So, do you have one that you’ve written?

Thomas:  I do. 

Bob:  Well, grab the guitar.  Let us hear because somebody handed you a Scripture and said, “Okay.  Come up with something.”  So, grab the guitar and let us hear what you’ve been working on, okay?

Jason:  That guitar has a lot of memories; you can tell from all the scratches.

Bob:  Yes.

Jason:  You know what I’m saying?

Bob:  Yes.  I like Taylor better than McPherson.

Jason:  Yes. 

Thomas:  Can you guys sing along with me?  Is that going to work out?

Bob:  Well, we don’t know the song.

Thomas:  Well, you picked it up.

Dennis:  Do you really—

Thomas:  Come on.

Dennis:  —do you really want me to sing along with you?

Thomas:  Absolutely.

Bob:  Okay.  You teach it to us, and we’ll see if we can catch along.

Thomas:  You can at least you can sing as well as my three year old, I’m sure, Dennis.

Bob:  What verse is this that you put to music?

(laughter)

Thomas:  Deuteronomy, chapter seven, verse nine. 

(guitar playing in the background)

Dennis:  Bob was the one that said that you were a garage,

Thomas:  That’s right.

Dennis:  —garage band.  I wasn’t.  Don’t put me on the level with your three year old.

(laughter)

Bob:  Deuteronomy seven, verse nine?

Thomas:  Verse nine.

Thomas [singing]:  Deuteronomy, chapter seven, verse nine.  Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; the faithful God who keeps covenants and steadfast love. Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; the faithful God who keeps covenants and steadfast love with those who love Him and keep His commandments, through a thousand generations.

Thomas:  Sing along.

Everyone [singing]:  Know therefore that the Lord your God is God.  Know therefore that the Lord your God is God. 

Thomas:  There we go.

Everyone [singing]:  The faithful God who keeps covenants and steadfast love. 

Thomas:  Sing it again.  ‘Know therefore.’

Everyone [singing]:  Know therefore that the Lord your God is God; the faithful God who keeps covenants and steadfast love.

Thomas:  ‘With those who love Him.’

Everyone [singing]:  With those who love Him and keep His commandments, to a thousand generations.  Deuteronomy, chapter seven, verse nine.

Bob:  Nice Job.  Yes.  There we go! 

Dennis:  Well done.

Bob:  So, you would have different guys who would just take a passage.  They’d grab it, and they’d put music to it.  Does everybody in the church get a CD or do you put it up on the website or what?

Thomas:  The CD is made available through the church and is given away to the members of Bethlehem Baptist.

Bob:  Then, every week somebody will say our Fighter Verse this week is ___; and it’s track number seven.  The families all memorize it.

Thomas:  They can use that as a resource.  In addition to what the Fighter Verse Program provides through Children Desiring God.  Yes.

Bob:  I also saw they just came out with an iPhone App and iPad App for the Fighter Verses.

Thomas:  That’s right.  They’ve got the iPad App.  It’s pretty cool.  It can help you keep a track of that.  Multiple translations if you like.  You can also go online to FighterVerseSongs.com or FighterVerses.com to listen online each week as new songs are released.  We’ve got the demos up from the latest CD.  It’s not out yet; so, it comes out and we make it available to people.

Dennis:  I have to get Jason on here with his Seeds Family Worship.  You’ve done one called Seeds of Courage.

Jason:  Right.

Dennis:  I haven’t had a chance to listen to this yet, but courage is a big theme in our lives—

Jason:  Yes.

Dennis:  —right now.

Jason:  Yes.

Dennis:  Barbara’s finished a book on courage.  I have, too.  There are a lot of passages in the Bible about courage.  Jeremiah 33:3 is one of them. 

Jason:  Yes.

Dennis:  Isaiah 41:10; Psalm 46:1-2; Crushed, which is Psalm 34:18.

Jason:  Yes.

Dennis:  These all speak about a call to courage.  I think it is great that you’re challenging young people to courage.  They need to have a courageous faith.

Jason:  Yes.  It is amazing, I mean, those different verses.  As I go out, I lead family events around the country in churches; and people come up to me and share stories.   Like, Isaiah 41:10, “Do not fear for I am with you.  Do not be dismayed for I am your God.  I will strengthen you and help you.  I will uphold you with my righteous, right hand.”

A mom will tell me, “My child was just having a hard time sleeping at night.  I try to comfort her, and she couldn’t sleep.  This verse really helped us get over that hurdle.  Now she’s sleeping well.”  The mom would say, “Remember? Remember the song ‘Do not fear for I am with you.  Do not be dismayed for I am your God?’”

Music:  Do not fear for I am with you.  Do not fear for I am with you.  Do fear for I am with you.  Do not be dismayed for I am your God.  So, do not fear for I am with you.  Do not fear for I am with you.  So, do not fear for I am with you.  Do not be dismayed for I am your God. 

I will strengthen you and help you.  I will uphold you with my righteous, right hand.  I will strengthen you and help you.  I will uphold you with my righteous, right hand….

Jason:  So many times, the parents have used these songs.  They’ve got the verses in their heart to where they can share them with their children.  God has just worked in amazing ways.  Can I play a song from our new CD?  Can I make a song request?  Sweet! 

Actually, it has to do with courage; but it from our new CD, Seeds of Character.  This is one our themes; and what God has so clearly put on my heart is, families have to overcome obstacles to disciple their children.  Romans 8:37 says, “We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us.” 

So, I just—I want to encourage families as they try to instill godly character in their children through getting them to know Christ and disciple them; they can overcome any obstacles they have.  This is a song for encouragement for families.

Jason [singing]:  We are more, more, more than conquerors through Him who loved us, through Him who loved us.  We are more than conquerors.

Jason:  Okay, I want to give everybody a little bit of insight about what’s going on here in the studio.  Thomas—

Dennis:  We need a video—

Jason:  Yes.

Dennis:  —cam, don’t we?

Jason:  Yes.  We do.  We need a video cam because we’ve got Bob and—

(laughter)

Dennis:  I could blackmail Bob.

Thomas:  It’s Bob’s fault. 

(laughter)

He started it.

Bob:  I’m proud of it. 

Jason:  Yes.

Bob:  You wouldn’t be blackmailing me.

Jason:  No.

Bob:  I’m proud.

Jason:  Bob’s got some good dance moves.

Dennis:  He does.

Jason:  What we did in our chapel this morning is there some hands motions that were made up at a church camp where I wrote this song in Maryland this summer.  Some teenage counselors made up some sweet hand motions for this song.  So, I taught them this morning.  Actually, had Thomas and Bob come up and do the hand motions.

Dennis:  I can picture that.

Jason:  Yes.  Here we go.

Everyone [singing]:  We are more, more, more—

Jason:  Yes!

Everyone [singing]:  —than conquerors—

Jason:  That’s right.

Everyone [singing]:  —through Him who loved us, through Him who loved us.  We are more, more, more—

Jason:  Hey!

Everyone [singing]:  —than conquerors through Him who loved us, through Him who loved us.

Jason:  Now, here we go!

Everyone [singing]:  For what can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus?

Jason:  Yes!

Everyone [singing]:  For what can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus?

Jason:  That’s right.

Everyone [singing]:  For what can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus?

Jason:  What?

Everyone [singing]:  Nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing.

Jason:  Yes!

(laughter)

Bob:  Yes, yes.  Yes, yes.

Everyone [singing]:  We are more than conquerors.  Yes, yes, yes.  Yes.  We are more than conquerors.  Yes.  Hey.  Hey.

Jason [silly voice]:  Thank you, FamilyLife.  We love you.  Good night.

(laughter)

Dennis:  That music and Bob’s moves need to be rated GP.

Bob:  Rated GP for?

Dennis:  God’s Plan.

(laughter)

Jason:  Oh my.

Dennis:  It really was good.  I can see why kids love it because they get into it.  The music is upbeat.  I know where these two you that gave me are going—

Jason:  You know one of the things about our CD’s is that with every CD that you get there’s one to give away.  It’s a big part of what we do because we want to spread the word of God; so, with each Seeds Family Worship CD, it’s perforated.  You just tear it off. 

We want families to pray, “Who does the Lord want us to give this to whether—is it our family?  Is it our neighbor?  Is it someone in our church that needs to be encouraged?

Dennis:  I like that idea.

Jason:  And—yes. 

Dennis:  I really like that idea because we were designed by God to give it away.

Jason:  Yes.  Yes.  In the heart of every believer is generosity because that’s who the Lord is.  It’s also empowering.  A big part of where the Lord has led our ministry is to encourage and equip families.

Dennis:  Jason, Tom, this was a lot of fun.  I sure appreciate you guys sharing your worship songs because families need to participate in worship.

Bob:  I want to know if you had your choice between people coming to our website, FamilyLifeToday.com, and getting your CD’s or linking up to the Fighter Verse Songs Project; or an old garage band dad sitting down tonight, picking out a verse, and coming up with his own tune, which would you rather have them do?

Jason:  I mean, for us, for families to engage in worship it’s amazing that families can come together and actually write scripture songs.  We want to empower families; so, we want people to take, see what we’re.  There’s a guy that called me up from Arizona and he said, “I’ve done everything exactly what you’ve done.  I’m starting a ministry that’s just like yours.”  I’m like that’s awesome!  We talked on the phone for an hour. 

I want to empower people to go share the word of God.  We want to have families write these songs.  The Bible is so poetic and musical; if you have a musical gift, write with your kids.  Write for your kids.  Make that a part of your worship time. 

Dennis:  Yes.

Jason:  It’s so powerful.  It’s how we’re made. 

Bob:  Let me just say right up front that most of you don’t have that musical gift; so, we want you to order the CD’s and use what these guys have done, okay?  I’m just telling the audience, right here, most of you; you can try and write the songs.  Let’s be honest, they’re not going to that good.

(laughter)

So, instead use these guys’ songs.  You can go to FamilyLifeToday.com.  We’ve got copies of the Seeds Family Worship CD’s available on our FamilyLife Today Resource Center.  We’ve got the Fighter Verse Songs in our FamilyLife Today Resource Center. 

Actually, it would be fun: if you’ve put Scripture to music at your house, you’ve got some songs you’ve done, and you want to make a YouTube video of that and put it up on YouTube; then, send us the link.  I think it would be kind of fun to have on our website, links to other verses that people have put to music.  We could do that, right?

Yes.  Okay.  So, if you want to put something up on YouTube and send us the link, we’d love to hear what you did because there are people who can put Scripture to music; and have done, and it sounds great. 

I realized I got a little hard with our audience there.  I didn’t mean that because we have some talented listeners.  If you want to send along your links, just go to FamilyLifeToday.com.  There’s a comment area there on our website; and you can just put the link to your verses in the comment area.  Then, we can all share with one another what we’ve done.  Okay?

In the mean time, if you want to order the Seeds Family Worship CD’s or the Fighter Verse CD’s or you want to hear samples of those, go to FamilyLifeToday.com; and order them from us online.  Or call 1-800-FL-Today, 1-800-358-6329.  That’s 1-800- F as in “family”, L as in “life”, and then the word “TODAY.” 

We want to remind our regular listeners about the matching gift challenge that we’ve received here at FamilyLife during the month of May.  We’ve had some friends of the ministry who have come and offered to match every donation we receive this month on a dollar for dollar basis up to a total of $750,000, which is amazing. 

It is perfect timing because summer time can be a time for ministries like ours when donation revenue goes down when folks, for whatever reason, get busy and don’t mail off a donation or call in to help support the ministry.  So, these folks came along and said, “Well, let’s get out in front of that and encourage your listeners to send a donation now; so, you guys can make it through the summer okay.” 

So, every dollar we receive during the month of May is going to be matched dollar for dollar by this matching gift of $750,000.  That is the largest matching gift amount that we’ve ever received outside of December.  So, we’re asking every listener can you go online or give us a call and donate $10, $20, $30, $50, $100—whatever you can do—$500.  That donation is going to be matched dollar for dollar, and we want to be able to take full advantage of this $750,000. 

Call 1-800-FL-Today or donate online at FamilyLifeToday.com.  We are very grateful for whatever you are able to do.  We appreciate your financial support.  You can keep track of how things are going.  There is a thermometer on the FamilyLifeToday.com website that’ll show you what our progress is toward our $750,000 goal.

Now, tomorrow, we are going to talk more about family worship, about engaging with our kids around the Scriptures and helping them memorize verses, and memorizing some ourselves.  Jason Houser and Tom Dodds are going to be back with us.  Hope you can be back as well.

I want to thank our engineer today, Keith Lynch, and our entire broadcast production team.  On behalf of our host, Dennis Rainey, I'm Bob Lepine.  We will see you back tomorrow for another edition of FamilyLife Today

Music:  Fear not for I have redeemed you.  I have called you by name; you are mine.  When you pass through the water, I will be with you; and through rivers, they shall not overwhelm you.  (Isaiah 43:1-2a)

FamilyLife Today is a production of FamilyLife of Little Rock, Arkansas. 

Help for today.  Hope for tomorrow.

Copyright music used on this program:

Title:  Cast Your Cares (Psalm 55:22)

Artist:   Seeds Family Worship

Album: The Power of Encouragement (p) 2008 Seeds Family Worship

Title:   Psalm 96:1-10 Oh Sing to the Lord

Artist: Scott Jamison & Family

Album: Fighter Verse Songs, Set C (p) 2008 Scott Jamison

(“FamilyLife Today Broadcast only)       

Title: Crushed

Artist: Seeds Family Worship

Album: Seeds of Courage (p) 2006 Cedar Extreme

Title: James 4:7-8a Submit Yourselves Therefore to God

Artist: Fighter Verse Songs Project

Album: Fighter Verse Songs, Set D (p) 2009 Children Desiring God

(“FamilyLife Today Broadcast only)       

Title: Do Not Fear

Artist: Seeds Family Worship

Album: Seeds of Courage (p) 2006 Cedar Extreme

Title:  Isaiah 43:1b-3a Fear Not

Artist:  Fighter Verse Songs Project

Album:  Fighter Verse Songs, Set D (p) 2009 Children Desiring God

(Product CD/WEB only)           

Title: Praise the Lord

Artist: Seeds Family Worship

Album: Seeds of Praise (p) 2006 Cedar Extreme

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Fun, engaging conversations about what it takes to build stronger, healthier marriage and family relationships. Join hosts Dave and Ann Wilson with FamilyLife Today® veteran cohost Bob Lepine for new episodes every weekday.

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