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Posted - 31 Aug 2006 :  21:22:57 Show Profile

Jesus Joshua 24:15 Newsletter - September 2006

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

The Crew:
Mark Bussell: Webmaster, Computer Tech
Jim Bishop: Promotion, PR
Tammy Woody: Video Production, Wardrobe
Juli Rauser: Booking

Editor's Lead

Wow! It is already September! It seems like I just finished the last Jesus Joshua 24:15 newsletter. As of this writing, most of the new CD, entitled "3 The Hard Way", is completed musically. It is mostly vocal tracks, then mixing and mastering. Although there is still work to be done, much progress has been made. And it has been all positive. I can assure you all that God has done some mighty and interesting (you might say "mighty interesting"...okay, that's a little redundant) things during the writing and recording process of this project. Not all of the experiences were mountaintop experiences, but many were clearly meant for our education and benefit.

Curiously, I have found a new sense of purpose and direction as this project has progressed. Well, perhaps not really new, but made more emphasized. I have been forced to think about what is really important to God through this CD project, than what is really important to me. I tend to think as a guitar player, wanting to please guitar players, rather than wanting to allow God to bless someone through the music, or change someone through the music. Even though the band has always maintained the attitude that we're not moved by what other men think, it is easy to get caught up in what your fans and/or critics might say. But truthfully, all that really matters is what God thinks. If you were to ask Bobby (drums/writer/producer), he would tell you the same thing.

We may never sell lots of CD's, or play real huge venues, or even be mentioned in the same breath as our heroes, and that's okay with us. All we really want is God's approval. And isn't that what really counts?


"Getting To Know The Band"

In last month's installment, we spoke to Jay Woody, and he was gracious enough to answer a few questions. We featured the first part last month. This month, we reveal part 2:

11. How do you view songwriting, in general? Do you see it as a vehicle for personal expression, or do you view it as a vehicle for worship, or all of the above?

I now see it as an awesome opportunity to be an instrument of Gods creativity.

12. How do you view Jesus Joshua as a musical force, or influence, in the current culture?

I believe that God has a very special plan for this band that we will see materialize in the very near future.

13. Do you believe that you have learned any deep spiritual lessons being with the band? What were they?

I have learned that JESUS had it right, when he said, "I've not come to do my will but the Father's who has sent me". "Daddy knows BEST" CJWJr!

14. What is your personal view on the current state of world affairs, with regard to your faith in Christ?

I personally believe that we are living in the days of Noah in which Jesus referred to in Matthew chapter 24:37, and it is high time for the church to rise up and be for real, or pay the price for being a worthless watchman.

15. What is your view on the current state of music, both Secular and Christian?

I think there has always been both good and bad, passion and emptiness. Its a heart thing, and it seems that there is a lot of empty people these days.

16. Who is your favorite musician, Christian or Secular, current, or past?

I really enjoy Ty (Guitar) from Kings X, his passion overwhelms me at times. Another would be John Paul Jones (Bass, keyboards, organ) from Led Zepplin, the mans got some serious groove.

17. What is your favorite Scripture verse?

That is truly a HARD one, cause I Love the whole counsel of the Word! But if I had to say it probably would be this one... Romans 5:7-9.

"Scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him."

18. How do you think the band has progressed over the three recordings you have made?

In every way!

19. Is there a particular favorite song of Jesus Joshua 24:15 that you have? Or which song is your favorite to play live?

"By God", right now.

20. What instrument, besides your own, do you prefer to hear in your monitors on stage?

Lots of Drums......are they considered an instrument?

21. What band would you love to play with the rest of your life?

The Band called JESUS!

Well, folks, there you have it! We hope to talk more with Jay in the coming months. We may even get some personal thoughts in the form of an article, every so often. Until then, thanks Jay!


The "T-Bone File"

Our enigmatic wanderer, T-Bone, caught up with Jesus Joshua drummer/songwriter/producer Bobby "Bludgeon" Shepherd, and asked him for some insights on songwriting. Here is Bob's passionate answer:

Some people write a beginning and an end with not much in between and call it a song. Writing good songs that draw the listener and hold their attention should be every writers goal.This requires thought and patience, which many wanna be writers don't possess. Still, there are tons of songs which have been written that lack the qualities of a good song, and yet have sold numerous copies, in part because the general listening public wouldn't know a good song if it bit em. You must first choose the category you want fall into as a writer and musician. Most players with serious skills go for quality, and in general strive to be as good as their heroes and influences.

As a born again believer, I personally want to be the very best that I can be, and feel the responsibility to say something meaningful with my songs, being carefully to give God the glory for all things. The arrangement of a song is key in quality writing. Making good use of different parts will bring life to a song and keep it interesting for the listener. By parts I mean intro, verse, chorus, lead etc. For me, an intro may only be heard once, maybe twice, in the song. I will also write a different rhythm under a guitar solo to make it interesting, (being careful of how I connect or transition from part to part) also extremely important, and can make or break the flow of the song.

In relation to today's music scene, it appears to me, now more than ever, that there are no rules or formulas. Modern music has come so far that it is now only a question of who you want to reach and how you want to be heard. The internet has enabled all to go around the world and find your audience, no matter what the style, message, look or sound. At this stage in the game, it all comes down to this true saying: "We will give an account for every idle word spoken".

Think about it.


An Interview With Steve

Also in this month's issue, I was able to lasso the lead throat of Jesus Joshua 24:15, none other than Captain Blasto himself, Steve Pettit. Although a very busy man, he was kind enough to share his answers and viewpoints to some of the same questions asked of Jay. We also found Steve in a humorous and gleeful mood. We have Part One of that interview this month. Part 2 will follow next month:

Steve's Interview, Part I

1. Who or what was your biggest inspiration to become a singer?

Well, you know I guess that would have to be ummm. Bob Dylan (chuckling) I figure if he can make a living singing anybody can. No, seriously it would definitely be my (earthly) father, James W. Pettit Sr., who moved into his heavenly mansion almost two years ago now. He had an awesome voice and I remember listening to him sing in church when I was just a young child.

2. How many bands have you been in?

How much time do you have? There was the "Merry Men" but that was kind of a covert operation. If Robin asks, you didn't hear about that from me. Let me see if I can remember what the question was again. I will now attempt to recall. (guttural straining sounds) Okay. The answer is 7, right?

They were: Something French, Azrael, Val Halla, X-Men, Mount Moriah, K.O.R. and Jesus Joshua 24:15.

3. What instrument do you prefer to hear in your monitor
for your vocal pitch?

Monitors? I thought those were just for feedback (pun intended). You mean there are instruments? Cool. Wait. No. For pitch? uh. drums? Okay Einstein I guess it might be GUITAR.
Editor's Note: Good Answer!

4. Do you play any instruments?

You mean there are instruments? Cool. (whoa. D'eja Vous)If I turn my head just right on a windy day. Does that count?

5. What is the hardest thing on your voice?

Oooh. Wait. I know this one! Our Songs?

6. What is your view about being in a Christian metal/rock band?

I find it an honor and a privilege to be able to serve My Lord doing something that I like to do at the same time. Although I will always hold to the view that the highest form of music is Praise and Worship, our songs have elements of each while ultimately being designed to evangelize the world (preferably adding muscle and not fat to the bride/body and edifying her existing members at the same time.)

7. What is your personal goal with music?

... and he shoots... and.... 3 points!
1.) ...Boyz to Men to Boyz?
2.) ...Solving world hunger?
3.) ...a better mouse trap?

Surely I jest. But not really. We hopefully add more immature Christians (Boyz) to "The Church" who hopefully then grow into men and women of God who can digest the "meat" of His Word while maintaining a childlike (back to Boyz) faith and humility.

They and we then reach into the spiritually malnourished world and pluck out the next ones in the perpetual cycle of "Life".

I still haven't found a mousetrap that can resurrect a mouse and make him want to work for me. I don't always want to beat people over the head with the Gospel (just somemostofthetimes). There are/should be many things about Christianity that attract people to it. This band and our music should be one of those things. We are bait. Though when we each surrender to Him and must die to ourselves, God always preserves a remnant of our identity when we become that "new creature" woven and intertwined with His Spirit and will.

For those reasons ultimately musical success is a high priority while spiritual success is my goal. Let's face it, we write this music for people to hear it and get the message. So nothing short of achieving more than any other band will do as far as I'm concerned. But ultimately, it is His will for this band, or any music that I am involved with, that is what I want. And if, no "when", we sell enough CD's to end world hunger of every kind I'll be happy.

8. When did you become a Christian and what situation spawned that decision?

The moment I asked Jesus to come into my heart would be when I first received salvation. The exact date eludes me because I was pretty young when I first asked Him into my heart for real, sincerely meaning it to the degree that I understood what that involved. Becoming a "Christian" is really a separate issue and a misunderstood concept, since it means becoming/being
like Christ. Becoming a Christian isn't so much an event as it is an ongoing process. Though He honored my request for salvation (became my Savior) at that moment when I first believed, received and confessed Him, I did nothing to nurture my relationship with Him for many years. It is purely by His grace, mercy and protection that I even survived long enough to have the opportunity to serve Him. (Lordship) The "ian" suffix brings many interesting facets into play. One such facet would be membership into an exclusive group defined by certain inherent qualities and/or disciplines. The situation that spawned my initial decision to receive Jesus would simply have been the combination of my realization of my inability to be "perfect" (being a sinner) realized through the conviction of The Holy Spirit, seeing my obvious need for outside intervention by one who is perfect through the prompting/drawing of The Holy Spirit and the realization of the fulfillment of that provision in Christ as witnessed and testified to in my spirit through His.

9. How do you view songwriting within the context of a Christian band?

Uh. since I really have not personally channeled any of Jesus Joshua's songs, I kind of view songwriting as a spectator these days. Although, even when I have written in other Christian bands, it was always a Spirit-guided thing, as evidenced to me by delayed revelations of truths within the lyrics that I was unaware of, when I originally penned them. So in a way, I've always just sort of been a spectator, though there is some level of satisfaction that comes with having a more active participatory role.

Is it a vehicle for your personal expression, or for worship, or both?

It is not exactly personal expression in our current format, yet in an indirect way, it is. And though I always approach our songs in a worshipful way or attitude, it doesn't always feel like worship, as I classify that experience, while we are playing. As a matter of fact, I would probably classify our music more in the praise category. Worship (inner court) to me is a quiet, personal, heartfelt expression of who God is, and of my relationship with him, while praise (outer court) is louder, shakes up the flesh, and it too talks about who God is but also about what he has done. Sometimes those boundaries aren't so clearly distinguished and at times they intermingle.

10. When you're on stage performing, are you in worship
mode, or are you on autopilot, or focused on the notes?

Do we perform?... On stage?... Live?... Let me clear out the cobwebs, and see if I can remember... And ummm. By the way. Shhhh. You weren't supposed to tell anyone about the notes.

Seriously, the answer is mostly the first two, but ultimately, alas, due to the earthsuit, sometimes all three. In an attitude of worship, surrendered to the Spirit, yet focused on something, (hopefully the mission) sometimes the notes (musical notes, that is, I don't use lyric sheets).

Part 2 coming next month!

Guitar Points from Will

Warm-up, Part 2

Last month, I examined the need for a warm-up regimen. Refer to last month's offering for the reasons why. However, I utilized an exercise based on 4-note groupings (1-finger-per-fret), and 4-beat rhythms. This month, let's look at 3-note groups and rhythms. The same principle applies as in last month's exercises, but now we shall work in 3's.

Part of the reason why is, well, because it breaks the monotony, and it trains your hands and fingers to have a feel for triplets, instead of quadruplets. It also requires a slight altering of your picking techniques. In fours, you pick Down, Up, Down, Up, or v^v^. But with 3's, your pick hand has to change the way it attacks the strings. For example;

pv ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ pv ^ v v ^ v v ^ v v ^ v v ^ v v ^ v 1E|-------------------------------1-2-3--| 2B|-------------------------1-2-3--------| 3G|-------------------1-2-3--------------| 4D|-------------1-2-3--------------------| 5A|-------1-2-3--------------------------| 6E|-1-2-3--------------------------------|

First,notice the "p" above the TAB. That means pick stroke, or just pick. Now, notice how the upper indicator shows strict alternate picking (or "down,up,down,up)? This is certainly good practice to develop. But the difference between this type of exercise, and the fours, is the string cross. In the fours, you get to go down, up, down, up, on the same string, before crossing to the next string. But in Three's, the pick strokes are Down, Up, Down, and thena string cross. There's nothing wrong with continuing with alternate picking, even on "Three's". But, I included the bottom pick stroke indicator to show an easier and more fluid way of picking the string-cross. It is called economy picking, or a partial sweep across two adjacent strings. If you use the down stroke when moving from one string to another, you will find a little less motion is required to perform the same technique. I personally prefer the Down, Up, Down, Down, Up, Down, as it makes it sound more fluid, to my ears. I would advise trying both ways, as it will allow you to develop your picking instincts properly for whenever either situation is needed.

Now, let us look at finger combinations in "Three's." Our first example utilizes a 1st, 2nd, & 3rd finger combination. Or, 1-2-3. But you have four fingers to use. And when we begin to study our scales, you will find that 1-2-3 does not always apply. So let's look at some variations on our "Three's":

|--slide up--| 1E|-------------------------------1-2-4/5-3-2-------------------------------| 2B|-------------------------1-2-4-------------5-3-2-------------------------| 3G|-------------------1-2-4-------------------------5-3-2-------------------| 4D|-------------1-2-4-------------------------------------5-3-2-------------| 5A|-------1-2-4-------------------------------------------------5-3-2-------| 6E|-1-2-4-------------------------------------------------------------5-3-2-| use fingers 1-2-4

|--slide up--| 1E|-------------------------------1-3-4/5-4-2-------------------------------| 2B|-------------------------1-3-4-------------5-4-2-------------------------| 3G|-------------------1-3-4-------------------------5-4-2-------------------| 4D|-------------1-3-4-------------------------------------5-4-2-------------| 5A|-------1-3-4-------------------------------------------------5-4-2-------| 6E|-1-3-4-------------------------------------------------------------5-4-2-| use fingers 1-3-4

|--slide up--| 1E|-------------------------------1-2-3/4-3-2-------------------------------| 2B|-------------------------1-2-3-------------4-3-2-------------------------| 3G|-------------------1-2-3-------------------------4-3-2-------------------| 4D|-------------1-2-3-------------------------------------4-3-2-------------| 5A|-------1-2-3-------------------------------------------------4-3-2-------| 6E|-1-2-3-------------------------------------------------------------4-3-2-| use fingers 2-3-4 Pick both Alternate (v^V^) and Economy (v^vv)

Practice each example, continuing up the fretboard, and back down, for 1 minute apiece, using a metronome (set to a triplet feel). As usual, start slow. Your goal is not speed, but clarity. Speed will come, but notes that are articulated properly sound much faster. If you practice each example for 1 minute apiece, you will have done 4-5 minutes of practice, and you will have covered both the left and the right hands. You can also use the examples, but instead of picking, slur, or hammer and pull, the notes, picking only the first note of each sequence. Do both, and now you've covered 8 minutes of practice.

Till next month, warm up those digits!

News and Events

  • We have a September birthday: Will Rauser(Guitar) will be turning 39 on the 4th! (Wow, your old,man!)

  • Also, Will's daughter, Tariesa, turns 7 on the 6th. Man, has it been 7 years? She was just a baby! Ah, well. Life goes on...

  • Congrats to Steve! He married off one son, and another joined the U.S. Air Force. Kudos for raising up two good sons, Steve!

  • As the band puts the finishing touches on the new project, "3 The Hard Way", band rehearsals will begin anew for any upcoming live shows. There are no official dates at press time, but October is starting to look hot for some dates. We will keep you posted on any upcoming events in the Jesus Joshua future!

  • For all of those who are wondering about product: Jesus Joshua should have a Product Page set up by next month, where all of our Merch can be ordered directly through us, and handled by us! All CD's (including the new one), shirts, stickers, and other items will be on display and easily ordered and shipped directly to you! Look for it at our website or at the "Warsong Records" ( site next month!


A Final Thought

In the past few months, I've encountered a word that has left a bittersweet taste in my spiritual mouth. That word is struggle, as in, "I'm struggling with something." As a Christian, I understand that we struggle all of the time with something or another. And I do not wish to diminish or condescend to anyone who has a legitimate struggle. But, time and time again, I find that word is used more to make excuses, rather than describe an actual occurrence of struggle.

In the dictionary, the word struggle is defined thusly: "To contend with; Strive; To exert violent efforts; A fight."

Usually, I hear this word used when some Christian is "struggling" with some kind of sin. Yet, I wonder how many of those are really fighting with whatever sin that they're dealing with. Are they fighting it, or are they giving in to it, and confusing struggle with shame?

The Bible tells us, "Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (James 4:7) Now, we know that the Word of God is true, and yet how many of us make it out to be a liar, when we Christians do not step up and actively resist the devil? Are our struggles really contending with the devil, or are our real struggles against obeying God? Allow me to illustrate.

Let's say that you have a struggle with sexual sin. Let's say that before you became a Christian, you had sex with as many partners as you could find. Now you're a Christian, and even though you are saved, you still deal with the pull of the flesh. That's a legitimate struggle. And I find no reason for indignance, since I believe that God, through Christ Jesus, can rescue you from that struggle. But let's say that you decided to continue going to strip clubs on the weekends. And let's say that you found yourself back in the arms of another partner. Something happens that you probably didn't plan on occurring, but happens anyway. Now you feel guilty, and you wonder how you could so easily been dragged back into your issue. Why should you be surprised? And now my question becomes, "How are you struggling with this?" Seems to me that you've given the Enemy every opportunity to drag you in. But you will look at me with a straight face and say, "Please pray for me, I'm struggling with this!" No you're not! You're giving in to it, knowing full well that God doesn't approve, and what you really mean is you're struggling with God, not the devil.

I do not wish to condemn anyone for making mistakes in judgment. We all do, and I am far from perfect. However, I do not try to shift the blame for my bad choices, either. If I am trying to quit smoking, (I don't smoke, I'm just illustrating) I may have the cravings and the psychological pull of the cigarettes. But to then go out and buy more cigarettes is not struggling, it is capitulating. Way too many Christians capitulate, or give in, to the Enemy, and then call it "struggle". To me, it is tantamount to self-pity.

There is two sides to this coin: the Scripture says first to submit to God; Then it says to resist the devil. Those two principles are so intertwined as to be the opposite sides of the same coin. You cannot have one without the other. But I believe that you must first submit to God, or else the whole process is bankrupt.If you are unwilling to submit to God, then resisting the devil is useless, for you cannot without God, anyway.

I say all of that to say this: Christians, in an age and time when the world becomes ever more hostile to our very presence, we have to know what we believe, not only intellectually, but also in practice. It does no good to talk about "Victory In Jesus" (to quote an old hymn) when you're still living as though you were a prisoner of the devil. I realize that there will be scars and old memories, but why must we put the same old chains and shackles back on when Jesus has freed us? I cannot recall any P.O.W. who wishes to go back to Vietnam and relive their captors' tortures. They may still deal with the scars, but they don't walk back into captivity.

Christians, let us stop making excuses for disobedience, admit our guilt before God, and "bear fruit, in keeping with repentance." (Luke 3:8)

Edited by - AXEMAN2415 on 01 Sep 2006 14:55:47

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