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T O P I C    R E V I E W
AXEMAN2415Posted - 04 May 2008 : 01:12:21

Jesus Joshua 24:15 Newsletter - May 2008

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

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

Editor's Lead

Spiritual Success?

Do not let the title mislead you. I am not going to discuss spiritual "scorecards" with you. With all due respect, while I do believe in the objective moral standards of Faith in Christ, I do not believe in the "scorecard" mentality that has permeated the Church. This is a mentality which suggests that we can measure, in a linear fashion, our spiritual "success", almost like we can measure our wealth by the numbers in our bank accounts.

To get a proper perspective on this, let us look at some Scripture. I shall cull from Luke 10:17-20;

The seventy-two returned with joy and said, "Lord, even the demons submit to us in Your Name!"

"I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven."

Now, I am going to quote Oswald Chambers, from the devotional book, "My Utmost For His Highest":

Worldliness is not the trap that most endangers us as Christian workers; nor is it sin. The trap we fall into is extravagantly desiring spiritual success; that is success measured by, and patterned after, the form set by this religious age in which we now live. Never seek after anything other than the approval of God ... In Luke 10:20, Jesus told the disciples not to rejoice in successful service, and yet this seems to be the one thing in which most of us do rejoice. We have a commercialized view - we count how many souls have been saved and sanctified, we thank God, and then we think everything is alright. Yet our work only begins where God's grace has laid the foundation. Our work is not to save souls, but to disciple them.

I would like to zero in on the term "commercialized", if I may. In the dictionary, the word "commercialize" is defined as, "to make use of mainly for profit." While I have no personal problem with commerce to build a successful company, that's not the way successful people are built. And I do not believe that is how a successful church is built. We cannot lose the individual for the sake of "numbers".

Many Christians operate in the same way the "seventy-two" did. They were more in awe of the personal achievement (even though it was God who did it through them) than they were about being set free from their own sin. I would even go so far as to say that they hadn't considered how God had set free those they ministered to. Jesus made it clear that while He indeed did give the "seventy-two" authority over the demons and over disease, that was not where they were to rejoice in. They were to rejoice in the fact that, though they were unworthy themselves, God adopted them into His family.

This should be a strong warning to the Church. We get so caught up in the "spiritual things" that we may have lost sight of our own wretchedness, and the subsequent grace that God afforded us. We get caught up in the "spiritual gifts", we get caught up in the "numbers", we get caught up in the buildings, we get caught up in the programs, we even get caught up in the doctrines, and we get caught up in dogma. And while all of those things are fine in their proper contexts, those things are not the Gospel.

I can only imagine that the "seventy-two" were going around, "high-fiving" saying, "Look at what we've done!" I cannot help but wonder how they left the people they "ministered" to. Please do not misunderstand; I am not saying that they hadn't done good things. Surely they did. Surely, it was wondrous. Surely, it got people even more interested in this new "movement" that Jesus was building. I am sure that the "Sunday morning" attendance numbers grew enormously. I am sure that Jesus and His disciples were the talk of the town. I am sure the money bags grew with contributions. I am sure that some even thought that it was the "in" thing to be a part of this movement.

Yet, I am also certain (even though the Bible doesn't actually say this) that there were many left with more questions than they had before they were "ministered to". I am certain that some went right back into the same bondages they were rescued from, once the "newness" or "spiritual tingle" wore off. I am sure that there were those who said, "Okay, so I am what?"

You see, the "seventy-two" may have lost their perspective within the miracles. They may have lost the stated purpose of being given the spiritual authority that Jesus gave them. Jesus didn't give the "seventy-two" that authority to edify themselves. Now, note, there is nothing wrong with having spiritual gifts, vast knowledge, good education, and organizational and leadership skills. Nor is it bad when God chooses to use you in very dramatic ways, even to the most unbelievable degree. But none of those things are the Gospel.

Truth be told, the less dramatic (but no less important) miracles of God are lives that are being discipled. But if we Christians start rejoicing in the displays of spiritual authority, though they are God given, we have lost the true perspective of the life-changing experience that God brings to a new believer. And that may signal a lack of the realization of our own condition.

Personally, I think much more highly of the one who uses the spiritual authority bestowed to him/her to continue investing in the lives of those they initially touched. To disciple and build up a person in the Lord, even if that is the only person you may affect in your life, is much better than all of the fancy spiritual "gimmicks". I am not trying to say that what God gives is a "gimmick". But, we marginalize the value of the gifts and the authority if they are not invested in the one thing that God loves most: people.

Question for the band

Q: May bands try to deal with political issues in their music. Does Jesus Joshua 24:15 use thier platform for politics?

Answer: No, we do not. With that said, let me make clear that it does not necessarily mean that we will hide our leanings. But Jesus is our central focus, and His message is our only agenda.

As an American band, we feel that we can speak about whatever we want. And we feel that we can hold whatever political view we want. And, I will say that we all pretty much share the same political views with each other. A lot of that is due to the fact that we share the same faith and all of our political, social, moral, and ideological opinions are viewed through that prism.

But, we don't all agree on every issue, even within our own ideological territory. And since politics is not central to our purpose and message, it has never been an issue of conflict. And since we know that not everybody in our audience shares all of our ideological opinions, we are not trying to isolate or impugn anyone who does not agree with us. The only area that we are not willing to keep our mouths shut about is, well, Jesus!

One may find, if they listen to our music, areas where our obvious political and ideological bends reveal themselves. But that isn't us trying to convince people to vote like us. Personally, I really don't approve of artists and musicians who try to politically proselytize people. Probably because it requires large amounts of disinformation and emotional babble. To me, a great song is often ruined because of too much political "preaching". Having said that, we all know throughout history that there have been some fantastic songs born out of political frustration and upheaval.

But, again, our central theme and focus is Jesus Christ. Political issues and leaders come and go. Ideologies increase and decrease in influence. But the message of Jesus remains the same. And if someone doesn't agree, at least they can dislike us for being consistent!

Guitar Points from Will

Voice-leading with arpeggiation

In the last two installments, we have been looking at the technique of voice-leading, but we have been examining the idea as fully strummed chords. This month, let's take a look at the idea as "broken chords", or arpeggios.

Simply put, an arpeggio is a chord rolled on it's side (but not always played that way). I like to use arpeggios to break up the monotony of constant power chording or continuous strumming. The voice-leading part helps bring some complex arpeggio ideas into a simple practice.

To begin, let's examine our "A-D-E" chord idea that we've been discussing for the last two months. To recap, good voice-leading allows for even the most complex chord change to be done with as few notes as possible. If two different chords share the same notes for most of their structures, then often, only one or two notes are needed to make the change. In the case of our "A-D-E" changes, we have observed (see March and April newsletters) how the changes can shift by just one note.

Now, let's arpeggiate the changes, rather than strum or "hit" the chords.


A D E E|---------0---------|-------2-------|-----------0-----------|| B|-------2---2-------|-----3---3-----|---------0---0---------|| G|-----2-------2-----|---2-------2---|-------1-------1-------|| D|---2-----------2---|-0-----------0-|-----2-----------2-----|| A|-0---------------0-|---------------|---2---------------2---|| E|-------------------|---------------|-0-------------------0-||

Now, of course, those examples are not in a solid timing. I just wrote them out like that to make arpeggios clear. However, we can note some similarities between the notes of each chord. Each chord either shares notes with another, or the notes are not too harmonically distant from the notes of another chord (for example, the "C#" in the A Major chord is only a half-step from the "D" in D major).

Knowing this information can help produce really cool lines from very limited source material. Let's look at some ideas for potential cool lines;

A Dsus2 E h E|-------------------0---------0-|| B|---------2-----2-3---3-----0---|| G|-----2-----2-----------2\1-----|| D|---2---2-----2-----------------|| A|-0-----------------------------|| E|-------------------------------||

Now, I just made that up, and if you try to imitate it, you probably will come up with something different, rhythmically, than I did. But that's okay, because the basic principle is still the same. Notice how the chord changes are implied by how the individual notes move? Let's look at it again, but with the notes put into parentheses for a clearer picture;

A Dsus2 E E|---------0(E)---0(E)---|| B|-2(C#)---3(D)---0(B)---|| G|-2(A)----2(A)---1(G#)--|| D|-2(E)------------------|| A|-0(A)------------------|| E|-----------------------||

(Note:If you do not know what a "Dsus2" is, do not worry. I am putting that in there to illustrate how certain tones are shared by several different chords. A "Dsus2" can also be thought of as a "Dadd9".)

Note that the "C#" in the A major chord leads to the "D" in the D Major chord? Also notice how the "A" in the A Major chord is shared by the D Major chord? And, in all actuality, the high "E" can be shared by all 3 chords. I only illustrated just two, but since the note "E" is part of the A Major chord, it can be used to "describe" all three chords.

One of the neat things about arpeggiating chord changes, rather than "hitting" them, is that your ear can hear the actual chord changes (or "cadences") even by one note playing. It is almost a musical "slight-of-hand". Sometimes, one instrument can be playing a series of non-related notes, while another (maybe a bass) plays a series of descending or ascending lines, to give the impression that there are chords "moving". The band Rush is fantastic at doing that. The bass guitar plays an independent line, while the guitar plays a series of repeating notes. Taking the guitar by itself would mean almost nothing. But adding the bass lines completes the sonic picture.;

Guitar Part I A D E|-------------|--------------|| B|-----2-----2-|-----3------3-|| G|---4-----4---|---2------2---|| D|-------------|--------------|| A|-x-----x-----|-x------x-----|| E|-------------|--------------||

(Note: the "x"'s are there to show where another line may be played. They aren't meant to be played.)

The line in Ex.3a is to be repeated twice. Those notes make sense by themselves, but are somewhat obscure. But, if we add some bass notes (either by another guitar, a bass, or another instrument, even if you played them on the same guitar), you begin to define the chords much clearer;

Guitar Part II Asus2 Bm7(no5) C#m7(no3) Dsus2 E|-------------|--------------|--------------|-------------|| B|-----2-----2-|-----3------3-|-----2------2-|-----3-----3-|| G|---4-----4---|---2------2---|---4------4---|---2-----2---|| D|-------------|--------------|--------------|-0-----0-----|| A|-0-----0-----|-2------2-----|-4------4-----|-------------|| E|-------------|--------------|--------------|-------------||

Now, note that in Ex.3a, the chord changes were A Major to D Major. But, in Ex.3b, the chord changes are much more rich and complex; Asus2-Bm7-C#m7-Dsus2. This is known as "orchestration"; taking two separate parts and putting them together to create a larger picture. Since we are addressing voice-leading, in this particular case, the lower tones create the voice-leading. The upper notes remain fairly static (constantly repeating), while the lower notes move in an ascending pattern.

I have only given you single note patterns, but you can apply this principle to multiple notes moving at once. Sometimes this requires another instrument to play a contrary part to the first.What makes the parts good or bad is based on individual taste. So experiment. Try playing static upper notes while experimenting with moving bass lines.

Lead Techniques from Will

Picking, part II

In last month's session, we looked at picking, both alternate and economy. Unfortunately, the picking techniques discussed only dealt with half or whole step (moving one of two frets) distances. They also only dealt with crossing the distance of a single string, up or down.

However, more melodic material may be drawn from crossing much larger intervals. Unfortunately, learning scale patterns, while good, is limiting, because you are only dealing with very small distances, and therefore, only crossing one string or no more than three frets at a span. We will look at scale patterns in more detail in the months to come. But for right now, since we are discussing "picking", we need to examine how to do "string-skipping", whereby a player "skips" a string to hit notes beyond a the typical scalar patterns.

Last month, I gave an exercise that was meant to help with string crossing;

^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ E|----------||-------------||-----------------|| B|----------||-------------||---------5-------|| G|-----5-7--||-----5-7-5---||-----5-7---7-5---|| D|-5-7------||-5-7-------7-||-5-7-----------7-|| A|----------||-------------||-----------------|| E|----------||-------------||-----------------||

Let's take from that example, and create a "string-skipping" exercise;

^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ E|----------||-------------||---------5-------|| B|-----5-8--||-----5-8-5---||-----5-8---8-5---|| G|----------||-------------||-----------------|| D|-5-7------||-5-7-------7-||-5-7-----------7-|| A|----------||-------------||-----------------|| E|----------||-------------||-----------------||

Example 2 utilizes notes from the A Pentatonic minor scale, but any scale may be used. The skipping pattern is what matters. Notice that now you have to cover a larger amount of fretboard real estate to play the same tempo. This is where many players (including myself) get tripped up. It also causes players to really know their scale patterns beyond the visual recognition. Many players (including myself) rely on visual patterns to play in key. Yet, many other instruments do not have that kind of advantage. Those players are forced to know their melodic material. Of course, horn players do not have the same physical limitations that we guitar players have. But, that is the nature of our instrument. And we do not have the same limitations that they have, so let's keep some perspective.

Anyway (enough preaching), a real good exercise for string skipping is arpeggios (or "broken chords"). Paul Gilbert is a master of this. As a matter of fact, his string skipped arpeggios sound like sweep picking lines. But the difference is that he uses two-notes-per-string phrases that sound much bluesier and less "classical" up-and-down sounding. Here is a simple example;

A Major v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v E|-------5-9-5--------|| B|--------------------|| G|---6-9-------9-6----|| D|-7---------------7--|| A|--------------------|| E|--------------------||

Note that the 2nd string is completely skipped. The pick stokes remain alternate (up-down-up-down), but the problem comes at the string skip. There are a couple of ways to fix this:

#1:Work through it. Start slow, with a metronome, and simply chip away at the problem. This procedure takes time, and it is not particularly fun, but the results are astounding. If you isolate the string skip, you can actually make that a single exercise to develop a consistent stroke.

#2:Add hammers and pulls to space out your pick strokes. Pick the first two notes of the exercise, then hammer the third note, to give your pick hand time to adjust for the next pick stroke. There's no rule that says you have to pick every note. Sometimes the music calls for a more legato (smooth) approach.;

A Major v ^ h v h p v p v E|-------5-9-5--------|| B|--------------------|| G|---6-9-------9-6----|| D|-7---------------7--|| A|--------------------|| E|--------------------||

Here, in Ex.3a, the pick stroke is "down-up-hammer-(skip)up-hammer-pull-(skip)down-pull-down". Yes, there are two consecutive down strokes at the end, but the hammers and pulls allow for your hand to do two down strokes, thus making the pattern cycle evenly. Sometimes, your technique has to adjust to unconventional situations.

#3: Do not always play the exercise as an exercise. Try incorporating permutations of the exercise to break up static sounding patterns.

A Major v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v E|-------5-9-5---5-------------------5-9-|| B|---------------------------------------|| G|---6-9-------9---9-6---9-6-----6-9-----|| D|-7-------------------7-----7-----------|| A|-----------------------------7---------|| E|---------------------------------------||

All of these notes fall withing the A Major chord. I just mixed up the pattern to create something a little more musical, and something to make the pick dance a little more. You can add hammers and pulls to this, but I chose to illustrate this with all alternate strokes.

Notice the very large pick jumps (from the 3rd string to the 1st, and from the 5th string to the 3rd). These need to be isolated and practiced, because those are where your pick hand tends to get tripped up.

v ^ v ^ v ^-h ^ v-p v E|---5---5-|-------5--------|| B|---------|----------------|| G|-9---9---|---6-9---9-6----|| D|---------|----------------|| A|---------|-7-----------7--|| E|---------|----------------||

Note that I have recommended consecutive strokes that follow a hammer or a pull (such as "up-hammer-up" or "down-pull-down"). Those are my personal recommendations, but that doesn't mean they are 100% right. They work for me (well, I am still practicing to perfect them, so who knows, I might change), but they may not work for you. But you won't know unless you try.

Next month, string skipping scale patterns.

News and Events

  • Jesus Joshua 24:15 was to appear at "Souls" in Fayetteville, NC. However, that show has now been postponed. Tentative date is sometime in June. Again, we'll keep you posted on the exact date and time.
  • Saturday, May 17, 2008, Jesus Joshua 24:15 will be playing in Myrtle Beach, SC, during the "Bike Week." Although we are slated for an afternoon show time, the tentative time is around 6 PM. Locale for the show will be at Murrels Inlet Mall. Keep a sharp eye out!
  • Jesus Joshua will be sharing the Soul Joy Records stage at Cornerstone '08, with Wisdom's Call, Eden's Way, Lord Chain, and F.O.G, and several others TBA. This will be July 5, 2008, in Bushnell Illinois. Tentative show time for JJ24:15 is 11am-12pm. Show times are subject to change without notice.
  • Continue to pray for our friend and Soul Joy Label executive, David Kelsey, as he recovers from surgery and treatments for cancer. There have been some great reports of his recovery and healing. We know to give God ultimate praise for those reports. But David still needs your prayers.
  • A very special "Happy Birthday" goes out to our good friend and supporter, Shredhead! How's it feel to be old? (lol)
  • Also, Happy Birthday to Will's son, David. He will be 12 years old on the 25th!
  • If you have any questions for the band, or any single member of the band, send an email to Axeman2415 via the JJ24:15 website. Any questions are welcome, but the band reserves the right not to answer any of deeply personal or vulgar nature.
  • Check out Jesus Joshua 24:15's MySpace site: - Come, hear the music, buy the CD's, leave a comment, and fellowship with us!
  • You can also check out Will's MySpace:

A Final Thought

As the United States has entered into a highly charged political season, we have heard much about the company one keeps, or has kept, and how those associations can become a political asset or political detriment. While I am not interested in debating political ideology here, nor am I interested in who one chooses to vote for, one thing is very clear to me: Your associations do have an effect on on people's perceptions of you.

Obviously, we cannot concern ourselves with what everybody else thinks about who our friends are. I have friends who are not Christians, and I have friends who do not share my personal doctrinal beliefs, even though they are Christians. I have known, and been friends with, people of questionable character, and I do not think that I should be unfairly impugned because of some of my friends' behaviors. I may not approve of what some do or believe, but they are still my friends, and I don't think I should abandon friends just because others might believe that these are not the best people to hang around.

Having said all of that, the Bible makes it very clear that our associations with people significantly impacts our lives. I Corinthians 15:33 says, "Do not be misled: 'Bad company corrupts good character.'" The prophet Jeremiah says (Jeremiah 15:17) "I never sat in the company of revelers, never made merry with them; I sat alone because Your hand was on me, and You had filled me with indignation."

Obviously, who we choose to associate with is important. There's an old saying, "If you sleep with the dogs, you'll wind up with fleas." And that is true. Hang around those that are always into trouble, and that trouble, whether you have participated or not, will get hung around your neck. Somewhere along the line, one must declare a line that one will not cross, even for the sake of friendships.

Please do not misunderstand me. I am not saying we should abandon those who don't necessarily think like us, vote like us, worship like us, or even operate like us. Clearly, Jesus associated with those that could have sullied His reputation. As a matter of fact, in some people's minds, He already had a sullied reputation. And Jesus never allowed the gossip or the slander to change His was of relating to people. He was (and is) a faithful friend.

However, the Bible also makes clear that "He entrusted Himself to no man, for He knew what was in a man's heart." There came times where Jesus purposely separated Himself from even His closest companions. He went away by Himself to pray. He went down into the hold of a boat, just to get some sleep. Even though Jesus found Himself alone with women of questionable morals, He had always maintained an atmosphere of purity. His word, integrity, and character often spoke louder than the situations He found Himself in. Jesus went to parties, but He was never a drunkard. Jesus spoke to the woman at the well alone, but He was never an adulterer. Jesus sat with tax collectors, but He never took something that wasn't His, nor did He share in the ill-gotten gains of those who did.

Jesus associated with those of lowly and questionable stature. But He never entrusted Himself to them, nor anyone else, for that matter. Folks, although we should not be afraid to associate with people, I do believe there are areas in our lives that we have to "separate" ourselves from the damaging influence of those who would sully our reputations. For example, I am a married man, yet I have many female friends and acquaintances. I have no problem saying hello, being cheerful, and even looking forward to having a pleasant visit or conversation with them. However, I would never find myself in a compromising situation with them intentionally, for that would only upset my wife. Or it might upset my friend's husband or boyfriend.

Another example. I know people who have drug issues. And, while I am their friend, I don't go with them to a drug dealer's house. Eventually, I cannot help them, nor be associated with them on that level.

Associations say a lot about who you are. And while you are not defined by the company you keep, you may very well be judged with suspicion. Justified or not, it is the way the world works. Keep that in mind the next time you're willing to embrace certain areas of culture.
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GrimePosted - 04 May 2008 : 01:27:25
Good articles....

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