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AXEMAN2415Posted - 03 Nov 2007 : 23:03:16

Jesus Joshua 24:15 Newsletter - November 2007

The Band:
Bobby Shepherd: Drums
Steve Pettit: Lead Vocals
Jay Woody: Bass
Will Rauser: Guitars

The Crew:
Mark Bussell: Webmaster, Computer Tech
Tammy Woody: Video Production, Wardrobe
Juli Rauser: Booking
George Sparks: Roadie

Editor's Lead

A Line Drawn In The Sand

Hi there! Welcome to another (tardy) edition of the Jesus Joshua 24:15 newsletter.

I do apologize for my tardiness in getting this edition out. The reasons are numerous, but I offer no excuses. But in the interim I have had a chance to ponder what I would bring to the table. This month, I would like to offer a portion of a sermon I gave a couple of years ago at my church.

To get us into the mindset I would like to offer a somewhat edited portion of Scripture located in Genesis chapter 19, verses 1-9. Those of you familiar with the Scripture will no doubt recognize the story of Lot and the two Angels sent to retrieve him and his family from the condemned cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. As we will read, the men of Sodom approached Lot's house with brazen evil and wickedness on their minds.

19:1 The two angels came to Sodom in the evening while Lot was sitting in the city’s gateway. When Lot saw them, he got up to meet them and bowed down with his face toward the ground.

19:2 He said, “Here, my lords, please turn aside to your servant’s house. Stay the night and wash your feet. Then you can be on your way early in the morning.” “No,” they replied, “we’ll spend the night in the town square.”

19:3 But he urged them persistently, so they turned aside with him and entered his house. He prepared a feast for them, including bread baked without yeast, and they ate.

19:4 Before they could lie down to sleep, all the men – both young and old, from every part of the city of Sodom – surrounded the house.

19:5 They shouted to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight? Bring them out to us so we can have sex with them!”

19:6 Lot went outside to them, shutting the door behind him.

19:7 He said, “No, my brothers! Don’t act so wickedly!

19:8 Look, I have two daughters who have never had sexual relations with a man.Let me bring them out to you, and you can do to them whatever you please. Only don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection1 of my roof.”

19:9 “Out of our way!” they cried, and “This man came to live here as a foreigner,and now he dares to judge us! We’ll do more harm to you than to them!” They kept pressing in on Lot until they were close enough to break down the door.

Of particular note in the story is verses 7-9, where Lot speaks out to his neighbors to warn them that they were playing with fire, both literally and figuratively. But what I am drawn to in this passage, and connecting it to my title, is a very curious development that has taken place. If you follow the story of Lot, from the time he parted ways with his uncle, Abram, when he actually put tent stakes down in the plains of Sodom, you will note that Lot's social and political standing within the culture and society of Sodom grew at a regular pace.

Eventually, Lot grew to have some status as a citizen of Sodom. Lot went from pitching tents in the plains of Sodom to owning a house inside the city.

Allow me to deviate for just a moment. Before anyone draws any conclusions about my topic, I must clarify that I am not placing any blame or affixing consequence to Lot for living among the citizens of Sodom. In all actuality, my subject matter has nothing to do with Lot, per se. I, for one, do not attribute to Lot the notion of a pattern of "backsliding", as many preachers are inclined to do. Yes, Lot moved progressively further into the fabric of Sodom's society. But, as Peter noted in his second letter,

"If he (God) rescued Lot, a righteous man in anguish over the debauched lifestyle of lawless men, (for while he lived among them day after day, that righteous man was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard) – if so, then the Lord knows how to rescue the godly from their trials,

Lot was a righteous soul, so I really cannot find much fault with him. I am sure some will disagree with me, and that really isn't the focus of my premise here. But I thought that I might give a little perspective to my comments before I went further.

At any rate, going back to verses 7-9 of Genesis 19, we see an interesting situation arise. There apparently is an ideological and philosophical conflict between Lot and his fellow citizens. Obviously, the entrance of the two "men", the newbies, has not escaped the notice of Sodom's homosexual community. Whether or not that encompassed the entire population of the city is neither here nor there.

The fact remains that the two visitors have not gone unnoticed. Eventually, the entire community decides that they would like to greet the two visitors with a special, er, housewarming. Of course, the men of Sodom had no idea that these two visitors were heavenly beings, and even if they did I sincerely doubt that would've made any difference.

However, Lot did know, and made an effort to protect his fellow citizens from making a huge mistake. I don't think Lot's concern was for the two angelic beings. I really think he was concerned for the potential disaster his fellow citizens were about to step into should they succeed in their nefarious plan.

At any rate, Lot and his fellow citizens are at loggerheads. The Men of Sodom want Lot to send out the two visitors. Lot, knowing what would be the disastrous consequence of that option, appealed to the men of Sodom face to face, and in a peaceful demeanor. Lot says, "No, my friends, don't do this (obviously) wicked thing." At this point, I think it worthy to note that Lot was probably swinging some of his political and social clout, hoping the respect and esteem his fellow citizens held for him would sway their thinking. Alas, this was not to be.

The men of Sodom, in a fit of indignation (and I think a little personal conviction), demanded to know just exactly who Lot thought he was by throwing around such a judgmental attitude on their behavior. How dare he? As a matter of fact, Lot was really just an outsider anyway! "How dare he judge us!" they cried. And thus, the line has been drawn, whether Lot wanted it or not.

Thus, I have arrived at the point of this article. As many Christians have noted, these are times of spiritual upheaval in the forms of ideological, philosophical, and theological conflict with those belonging to the world. There are several reasons for this: sometimes the world purposely tries to marginalize, mock, and impugn Christians for simply being Christians. Other times (and all too often, unfortunately) we Christians really don't act like Christians, and we thwart the efforts, by our selfish and unloving behavior, of those who are pouring their lives out for the sake of the Gospel. But, regardless of how this occurs, one thing is certain: the two worlds will collide.

You may have noted that Lot wasn't being judgmental at all. He was trying to be peaceable. He was trying to get along. He was warning his fellow citizens out of genuine concern both for their welfare and the welfare of his two guests. But it really didn't matter how he really was, or what he was trying to do. The men of Sodom were so bent on their wicked and evil scheme of self satisfaction that any rebuke, no matter how kindly put, was received as a judgment. Lot stood in the way of the men of Sodom having what they desired, and that meant that Lot needed to be marginalized.

Folks, I don't see much difference in human nature in this day and age. Even today, we see certain groups utilizing their political and popular clout to marginalize and minimize the influence of the Church (the Body of Christ). It is simply because the very presence of the Church stands in the way of illicit and selfish behavior. Christians don't really have to say anything. All we have to do to create a problem with militant secularism is simply exist.

I am witnessing an interesting trend occurring in the Church. While I am all for loving people, despite whatever they have done, there comes a point where we have to say, "This is wrong; this is wicked; this is evil; this is not pleasing to God...". The trend has been forming to step away from talking about right and wrong, and moving toward talking about not being "judgmental". That word has become an all-encompassing description for anything the Scripture deems unacceptable for God's people. Yes, I agree that we are all sinners, desperately needing the salvation found only in Jesus Christ, as a result of God's infinite mercy and grace. I also would agree that we cannot receive that salvation until we face the fact of our sin. Perhaps if the men of Sodom had recognized their sin and need, the city of Sodom might still be standing.

We in the Church have begun to view any legitimate criticism of sin as "judgmentalism", and we have begun to shy away from any kind of core beliefs. I am not saying that we are shying away from our doctrines. Those are pretty easy to hold. I am speaking about the over-arching concepts of moral conviction.

And I think it is because we do not wish to be vilified and impugned by our fellow citizens with whom we share the Earth. I am afraid that this is a dangerous precipice from which to be dangling. Even Jesus told us that we would be persecuted because of Him, so I don't think that receiving criticism from the world should surprise us. But I would tell you that like Lot, and whether you choose to frame it politely or not, the line is going to be drawn right at our doorstep. We will have to eventually speak out or capitulate.

I am not sanctioning a confrontational attitude. I am not saying we Christians should make it our goal in life to point out other people's sins. That can only get us into a multitude of trouble, and it is neither necessary nor Scriptural.

However, not every criticism or warning that comes from the Christian community is a "judgmental" thesis. I would venture to say that most criticism is warranted and done out of a spirit of love, not spite or judgment. Like Lot's case, there comes a point when I think we have a moral responsibility to let people know, in no uncertain terms, that they are swimming in dangerous waters.

As we approach the time of Christ's return, things are bound to become a whole lot worse. And I would submit to you that there may come a time that we will be forced to make clear moral judgments. Yes, I said judgments. Webster's dictionary gives several definitions for the word judgment, one of which is "a legal decision." If we say we are going to follow Jesus, we may find ourselves at odds with our fellow citizens on this planet. I believe that is part of "taking up your cross" and following Jesus. I submit that if we don't draw the line in the sand, it will be drawn for us at some point.

Question for the band

This month's question is from Dale in Alaska;

"After all these years together, are you guys still on your original mission?"

Jesus Joshua 24:15: Absolutely! We can safely say that nothing has changed about the mission for this band over the years. As a matter of fact, we're only beginning to see the fruit of investments made years ago. I think the key to our longevity is waiting on God's timing, not us trying to kick down doors that God has closed.

Our mission is to lift Jesus Christ as Lord in front of the masses. We do not veer to the right or to the left of that path. Fame is not our goal. Money is not our goal. Record contracts are not our goal. To be honest, music isn't really our goal. We love to play, perform, and record. We enjoy getting on the highway and playing shows. We love playing with other bands. We love the music we write. But none of that is our mission. Our mission is to tell as many people about Jesus as possible, and to see them come to Him for salvation.

We realize that a lot of bands and artists who are Christian say that, and we are sure that they are sincere. But, as for Jesus Joshua 24:15, there is no retiring from that part of the mission. Eventually, the entity known as Jesus Joshua 24:15 may cease to exist. But the mission of it's 4 members has not, and will not, change. It may take a different form, although we do plan on continuing on as a band for as long as God will have us. But, despite what the future brings, the mission is still in force.

Guitar Points from Will

Last month I spoke about rhythm guitar. I do tend to emphasize that aspect of playing a lot more than lead. There is a reason. Don't get me wrong, I love good lead playing. I have always desired to play great lead. But lead playing is only a small part of playing the instrument. Rhythm guitar constitutes 95% of your set, so why let that part fall to the wayside? Personally, I think much more highly of an inventive rhythm guitar player than a fantastic lead player.

As many of you have read, I refer to Edward Van Halen a lot in my articles. He is my favorite guitar player. He is responsible for me needing to play! And, many of your know, his lead playing is wonderful, his tone is to die for, and his speed and phrasing are incomparable (although, nowadays, there are plenty of players much faster than he is).

Having said all of that, what first attracted me to Edward's playing was his stellar rhythm work. I remember hearing Van Halen's first album, and being blown away by his tone and solo work. But, I also remember hearing the beginning strains of his masterpiece solo, "Eruption", and feeling a little disappointed, because it wasn't a song, just a solo. I, along with a zillion other players my age, adore the piece, but before I was a player, I was a listener. I kept expecting the solo to segue into a new song, but that never happened. I have since come to appreciate "Eruption" for what it is, and it is a wonderful piece to hear. I still can't play it!

My point about this is that Edward's rhythm playing on the other songs made me (and still make me) want to listen. Many of those who have studied VH's guitar work have somewhat overlooked his very inventive and swinging rhythm work.

Yet, many of Ed's famous disciples have noted that it was Eddie's song sense and rhythm work that made them want to play. Although I am not of that caliber, I concur.

So, if Edward Van Halen found it necessary to develop his rhythm work, I think the rest of us players ought to follow his example. I have built my style on that style of rhythm playing. I rarely play block chords, unless the music calls for it. To me, finding movement in the simplest of chord progressions is easily listenable and develops interest. Let's look at some ideas.

Last month, I made up a simple and uninteresting chord progression, and then phrased it to make it more listenable. I would like to try that approach again.

Let's take a simple Em-C-D progression and spice it up:

Ex. 1
Em C D E|-0-x--0-0-x--2-2-x--0-|| B|-0-x--1-1-x--3-3-x--0-|| G|-0-x--0-0-x--2-2-x--0-|| D|-2-x--2-2-x--0-0-x--2-|| A|-2-x--3-3-x------x--2-|| E|-0-x------x------x--0-||

Pretty basic, and maybe even boring. Nothing wrong with it, but it has been done a million times before. Now, let's try the same progression, with a little more swing and spice:

Em (Cadd#4) Dsus4 CMaj11 h E|---0-----------------------------|| B|---0---------------------------3-|| G|-----------0--------0--------4---|| D|-2-------2---4----4---4----4-----|| A|-2---2-3-------/5-------\3-------|| E|-0-------------------------------||

Now that's much more interesting and musical. Don't worry about the complex chord names. That isn't the point. The point is, I have taken a mediocre progression and made it new. Imagine the bass guitar and the drums laying down the foundational groove, while you float on top of the rhythm with these colors. You might be looking at this and thinking, "Well, that doesn't seem metal enough, or heavy enough." But you can dial in all of the gain and distortion you wish, and still make these colors sound heavy. Try adding heavy palm-muting and some pick squeals for extra heaviosity!

Want to use some lower string action? Try this:

E5 C D/F# C/G P.M. P.M. P.M. P.M. E|------------------------------|| B|------------------------------|| G|------------------------------|| D|-2------2---------------------|| A|-2--x-x-3--x-x-5--x-x--3--x-x-|| E|-0--0-0----0-0-2--0-0--3--0-0-||

Try the same fingerings, but drop the low E string down a whole step to D. You might find that does the trick. It will change how the progression sits in a key, but isn't different what we're after? Also, try adding a little hand vibrato to the power chords. You might find the piece gets a new lift from that.

Take these simple ideas and try some variations on them. Try playing different voicings. Try finding smaller chord shifts. Some chord changes only require the movement of one note to change the entire chord. Sometimes, you can superimpose one chord over another to get a polychord. A good example of that is to take an E minor (E-G-B-D) and put a C note on the bottom (or lowest register), which will create a CMajor9 chord (C[1]-E[3]-G[5]-B[7]-D[9]). Moving one note changes the entire chord!

These are really simple ideas, and you should experiment, even if you get some nasty sounding chords. If they don't work, discard them! If they do, you've learned something new.

Lead Techniques from Will

Picking, part 3

Last month, I showed you 2 different ways to use your picking across the neck, going from string 6 (Low 'E') to string one(High 'E'). In all of those examples, I utilized a 3-note-per-string scale pattern. That's fine for learning scales in 3 note patterns, but it can cause you to learn to play in only one regimented way. Rarely is lead playing that confined.

An alternative to that kind of pattern is to play 4-notes-per-string. This changes the way you pick as you switch strings. Sometimes this makes it easier for your picking hand to adjust strokes. But, it does make it more difficult to navigate up or down the scale patterns, since now you do not have a symmetrical pattern to refer to. Well, let me amend that: Even in 4-not-per-string patterns, they can have a symmetry, it isn't as easily recognized as in 3 note patterns.

Here are some examples of 4-note-per-string patterns, and their picking patterns.
Last month, we used both E Major, and E minor. We shall stick with those for this month.

Ex.1 E Major (E-F#-G#-A-B-C#-D#-E)in fours

E F#G#A B C#D#E F#G#A B C#D#E F# G# A B C# D# E F# G# v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ E|---------------------------------------------11-12-14-16-|| B|----------------------------------9-10-12-14-------------|| G|-------------------------6-8-9-11------------------------|| D|-----------------4-6-7-9---------------------------------|| A|---------2-4-6-7-----------------------------------------|| E|-0-2-4-5-------------------------------------------------||

Notice how the picking is continuously up-down-up-down? This lays out nicely for the picking hand, but the fretting hand either has to do some massive stretching (particularly on the lower frets) or a lot of position shifting. Let's illustrate some shifts;

o 1 3 4 1/1 3 4 1 3 4/4 1 3 4/4 1 2 4 /4 1 2 4/4 E|---------------------------------------------11-12-14/16-|| B|----------------------------------9-10-12/14-------------|| G|-------------------------6-8-9/11------------------------|| D|-----------------4-6-7/9---------------------------------|| A|---------2/4-6-7-----------------------------------------|| E|-0-2-4-5-------------------------------------------------||

Now, these are only suggested finger shifts. I chose to slide the 4th finger mostly. But I started my first shift with the 1st finger. That is a personal preference, not a dyed-in-the-wool absolute. Truth is, you could select any finger to shift with, as long as it produces a smooth transition from position to position. Irregardless of what you choose, the alternate picking remains constant and consistent.

Now, let's look at these patterns going up the neck, but only using 2 strings.

o 1 3 4 1/1 3 4/4 2 1\1 4 2 1\1/1 2 4/4 1 2 4/4 v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ E|--------------------------------------------------|| B|--------------------------------------------------|| G|--------------------------------------------------|| D|--------------------------------------------------|| A|---------2/4-6-7/9-7-6\4-----------------6-7-9/11-|| E|-0-2-4-5-----------------7-5-4\2/4-5-7/9----------||

The last exercise is a little more difficult to execute, mostly because of the multiple slides. But it is well worth the effort, as it will train your hand to shift positions while you pick every note. Also notice that we've covered the length of the neck in just a few moves. Learning scales in this way can free you from the rut of always playing from the Low 'E' string to the High 'E' string and back. The picking process stays constant, as illustrated thus;

Ex. 4
v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ E|-------------------------------------------------|| B|-------------------------------------------------|| G|-------------------------------------------------|| D|-------------------------------------------------|| A|---------0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-----------------0-0-0-0-|| E|-0-0-0-0-----------------0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0---------||

It is always good to break everything down to it's most basic components. This way you can focus on one thing at a time, and then combine them after you have mastered each one. Start slow, use a metronome, and stay consistent.

News and Events

  • There is currently no gigs scheduled. The band is on a holiday hiatus. This doesn't mean we're not doing anything. It simply means there's nothing to announce at this moment.

A Final Thought

“If our Bible study does not show up in a life that looks increasingly like Jesus’ (captured by His heart for people), it is merely a head trip, a point of pride, and an idolatrous substitute for genuine spirituality.” - Reggie McNeal, from “The Present Future”, page 144

I recently attended a dear friend's ordination into the Pastorate. While there, I attended the evening Bible study. Since I was only a guest for the evening, and not a regular, I was not aware that the adult students were asked to read a chapter out of John for the evening's study and discussion. As we sat, and our instructor was trying to focus the discussion, a side conversation abounded on who read and who didn't for the night's study time. No accusations were thrown, but I heard an awful lot of excuse making anyway. Of course, I was not aware that this passage had been required, so I guess I had!

Anyway, while some were saying how they had been too busy or simply forgot to read the passage, an elderly woman stated, quite proudly, that she read ten chapters from the Bible daily[/i]. In astonishment, many of the other adults, several decades younger than her, paid her very quick attention. It seemed, from my perspective, that this older lady was quite satisfied with herself.

Now, I am not going to say she was being prideful and arrogant, since I knew nothing of this woman, save what I witnessed during that hour or so. I am certain she did not mean to come across any other way but sincere. I knew nothing of her relationship with Christ, nor where she has been with the Lord in her life. So, I am somewhat making a blanket statement. Perhaps, I am even coming across as judgmental.

But, I did get an initial bad taste, based on some comments she made. And I began to wonder if her boastfulness was an attempt to elevate herself above those who "couldn't find the time to read just one chapter". And the internal question I had was, "What has reading all of that Scripture done to change your life?"

I've met many people in my travels, many of whom are as heathen as any man of Sodom. Several of those have made bold claims to have read the Bible several times. Many claim to know what the Bible says, and while I believe them, they do not act as though all of that reading of sacred text has impacted their lives one iota. To me, if there is no life shaped by the Word of God, then you might as well be reading Cosmopolitan. You might as well be reading Stephen King.

Conversely, I have met many a Christian who cannot recall chapter and verse, yet their lives are total reflections of the Author of Scripture. Oh, yes, they desire to know more Scripture, and be able to recall it. But, as Reggie McNeal pointed out, should we not desire to be shaped by the Author of the Scripture? Otherwise, we may make great boasts about how much Bible we know or read, but there is no power of a changed life.
7   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
AnonJrPosted - 12 Nov 2007 : 21:42:13
In the latter part of the solo, around 1:57 or so.
AXEMAN2415Posted - 12 Nov 2007 : 09:36:08
You mean, in the solo? I am not sure which ascending piece you mean.
AnonJrPosted - 12 Nov 2007 : 06:35:34
Alright - that's enough of that!

Back to something more important: how do you play that little ascending piece in "Always You Are There"?
ShredheadPosted - 12 Nov 2007 : 01:52:39
As always mate .
AXEMAN2415Posted - 11 Nov 2007 : 11:58:13
Well since I am both, I must really have your
ShredheadPosted - 10 Nov 2007 : 20:27:18
I agree ... with this I mean

" Personally, I think much more highly of an inventive rhythm guitar player than a fantastic lead player."
GrimePosted - 04 Nov 2007 : 00:39:23
Yes, the world doesn't understand that God's rule book isn't here to limit our experiences or to control us, but for our own protection and prosperity. Then again, how many Christians fully understand that? How many Christians look at The Bible as a collection of stories and rules about how to pattern our behavior, rather than a tool with which we renew our minds and transform our hearts?

Yes, I don't know the woman at the Bible study either, but, in this story, she stands in as an all to common example of a prideful, judgmental Christian. We have all seen them, we all know one or two of them. And it's they who give the world ammunition to throw at us.

I think back over Jesus' ministry. There are very few times Jesus ever taught without first seeking to meet His audience's need first. Of those few times, it's even fewer where He wasn't asked first.

As I remember it from the time I was of the world, I seemed to ask, "What's in it for me?" a lot. You see, if you're going to take away my porn and my selfish attitude, then you are going to have to replace them with something. Not only that, but you are going to have to show me that you believe in what you are selling by living it.

People, are tired of hearing The Church talk about sin with intolerance for sinners, while we seek grace and compassion for our own sins. It also drives me nuts to see churches withdraw into themselves and become surrogate self-help centers, focusing on the power of positive thought and personal growth, without doing anything to better their neighbors. We "are called according to His purpose." That means He wants us to serve him. That means action, not just words.

It is only when we meet others in their needs that they will begin to listen to what we have to say. I say, instead of reading ten chapters per day of the Bible, read one, and babysit someone's kids so they have the time to read one as well. Replace judgment with ministry and see what the worldly have to say about it.

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