2011 GREENBEAN BLOG REVIEW #4: RETRO SONGS AND SERMON TITLES

#4 on the countdown of 2011 most viewed Greenbean blogs is one I wrote about sermon titles from songs.  I also wrote another blog on the topic this year–MORE RETRO SONGS MAKE GREAT SERMON TITLES, but that one didn’t get the number of hits this one did.  On a tangential note I think a whole series of exclusively Elvis song titles could be coming.  Enjoy!

RETRO SONGS MAKE GREAT SERMON TITLES

Each December I plan my sermon preaching schedule—text or topic and series emphasis—for the entire coming year.  But I work on it all year, writing down ideas for the upcoming year.  So, I’m already thinking about what I might preach in 2012.  One of the things on my mind is the possibility of a series of topical sermons that have titles based on retro-songs.

1.  “Love Shack”—This B-52’s classic is a great title for talking about the way in which Christians should love one another.  Then the sermon could take a turn to describe exactly how this love is shown in the context of messy church life.

2.  “Living on a Prayer”—Bon Jovi sang about desperate times.  I’m thinking I could craft the sermon to be about how our everyday lives could be guided by prayers all along the way.  Waking prayers, devotional prayers, prayers said while grooming, prayers for work, prayers for noontime, prayers in the afternoon, prayers at dinner, and nighttime prayers.

3.  “Beat It” –The first music video I ever saw was Michael Jackson’s cautionary tale about fleeing from a dangerous situation.  I think this would be a great sermon about how to avoid sin and temptation.

4.  “Suspicious Minds”—Okay you know I had to get Elvis in there.  This could be a sermon about how trust is necessary in human relationships, particularly marriage.  I can easily see, though, extending it out to include parent-child relationships as well as to friendship.

5.  “Stairway to Heaven”—This one is easy.  First, some time could be spent unpacking some theological imagery already inherent in the song and then talk about how Jesus came to earth and that the cross sort of makes a stairway to heaven which allows us, through Christ’s sacrifice and our following him, to enter into heaven.

6.  “With or Without You”—Okay, I freely admit I could preach a sermon based on many U2 songs because many of them are theologically rich with obvious biblical connections.  But this one is the only one I would use in this series.  What I would do is focus on how God’s will and plan is doing with or without us.  Our greatest joy is to participate in his work and be a part of the celebration.

7.  “Welcome to the Jungle”—No retro list would be complete without something from G-N-R, right?  So this sermon would feature a description of the world as a spiritually dangerous place in which we must be careful.  Perhaps 1 John would be the best place to jump off of.

Whether I preach these or not I do not know.  Regardless, it was fun thinking about it.  Maybe its time to push play on my 80’s playlist on the old iPhone.

RETRO SONGS MAKE GREAT SERMON TITLES

Each December I plan my sermon preaching schedule—text or topic and series emphasis—for the entire coming year.  But I work on it all year, writing down ideas for the upcoming year.  So, I’m already thinking about what I might preach in 2012.  One of the things on my mind is the possibility of a series of topical sermons that have titles based on retro-songs.

1.  “Love Shack”—This B-52’s classic is a great title for talking about the way in which Christians should love one another.  Then the sermon could take a turn to describe exactly how this love is shown in the context of messy church life.

2.  “Living on a Prayer”—Bon Jovi sang about desperate times.  I’m thinking I could craft the sermon to be about how our everyday lives could be guided by prayers all along the way.  Waking prayers, devotional prayers, prayers said while grooming, prayers for work, prayers for noontime, prayers in the afternoon, prayers at dinner, and nighttime prayers.

3.  “Beat It” –The first music video I ever saw was Michael Jackson’s cautionary tale about fleeing from a dangerous situation.  I think this would be a great sermon about how to avoid sin and temptation. 

4.  “Suspicious Minds”—Okay you know I had to get Elvis in there.  This could be a sermon about how trust is necessary in human relationships, particularly marriage.  I can easily see, though, extending it out to include parent-child relationships as well as to friendship.

5.  “Stairway to Heaven”—This one is easy.  First, some time could be spent unpacking some theological imagery already inherent in the song and then talk about how Jesus came to earth and that the cross sort of makes a stairway to heaven which allows us, through Christ’s sacrifice and our following him, to enter into heaven.

6.  “With or Without You”—Okay, I freely admit I could preach a sermon based on many U2 songs because many of them are theologically rich with obvious biblical connections.  But this one is the only one I would use in this series.  What I would do is focus on how God’s will and plan is doing with or without us.  Our greatest joy is to participate in his work and be a part of the celebration.

7.  “Welcome to the Jungle”—No retro list would be complete without something from G-N-R, right?  So this sermon would feature a description of the world as a spiritually dangerous place in which we must be careful.  Perhaps 1 John would be the best place to jump off of.

Whether I preach these or not I do not know.  Regardless, it was fun thinking about it.  Maybe its time to push play on my 80’s playlist on the old iPhone.

RADIO STOP SIGNS

This morning on the way to work I was flipping through the radio.  I landed on a song that made me stop and listen.  I’d never heard the song before, so it must be new.  Once I got to the office I checked the playlist of the station and discovered the singer.  I sadly discovered the lyrics were rather blasphemous on the playlist widget, but the female singer was so strong it made me stop and listen.

This made me think about what other singers make me stop and listen, regardless of whatever else I’m doing.  So I made a list.  Of course, the list excludes both my wife—the best singer ever, and U2’s Bono.  Everyone knows that U2 is my all-time fave, so it is wrong to put them on the list.

So, here is the list of 5 who come to mind, but it is not a complete list.  Everything is fluid.

  • Natalie Merchant—There is just something ethereal about her voice.  Maybe I’m just showing my Gen-X street cred, but I think her voice is one of the iconic sounds of the last 20 years, whether she’s with the Maniacs or not.

 

  • Jim Morrison—Yeah, I know he was demon possessed but his voice is just odd.  Whenever I hear a Jim Morrison song I have to stop and listen.  Listening to him sing is like rubber-necking at a car crash on the freeway.

 

  • ZZ Top—Not only do these men have the best Texas-Rock and Roll sound ever, but their beards are legendary.  La Grange still gets a lot of airtime, and I have to listen.  I have to listen because I’ve driven through La Grange, Texas more times than I can remember.  I know that the song is about ill repute, but I still have to listen.

 

  • Mick Jagger—I list Jagger, and not the Rolling Stones because to me, Jagger is the power behind that thing.  Keith Richards, I think, actually died in 1987.  Today he is only a digital reanimation brought to us by Dreamworks.  Jagger’s voice, with its arrogant britishness says, “Stop what you’re doing and listen.”  Gimme Shelter  is not the greatest song ever, but it has to be in the top 10.

 

  • Frank Sinatra—Old Blue Eyes has the purest vocals, rivaled only by Nat King Cole.  But Frank is better because he did more.  I think I have every single song he ever sung.  Not only is his voice amazing, he was the king of cool.  I’d like to be the Frank Sinatra of preachers, so now I have to find a way to do all my ministry from Vegas.  Okay, maybe not.

 

Some of you will notice some missing personas.  Led Zeppelin, for one.  I love Led, but Robert Plant on vocals was always a negative, not a positive.  The guitar riffs are what made them.  John Fogerty almost made the list, but I decided that I can skip him over on the radio dial.  What interested me was how these distinctive singers all seem so much more amazing in the backdrop of what passes for music right now.  We are in a music drought with all the vanilla copy-cats.