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Jesus Joshua 24:15 Newsletter - March 2008

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

"Diabetes" Freedom

Hi, there, and welcome to the March edition of the Jesus Joshua 24:15 Newsletter.

I suppose that some of you are looking at the title of the Editor's Lead and wondering what I could possibly mean by implying that there's freedom in such a horrid disease. Well, the context is based on a quote I heard from that great singer, Patti LaBelle, said to an interviewer on NBC's Sunday edition of the "Today" show.

The focal point of the interview with Ms. LaBelle was the impact of the diagnosis of diabetes on her. Ms. LaBelle had three factors that contributed to her becoming diabetic: First, she was an ethnic minority, where the rick factors are greater; second, there was a family history of the disease; and third, she was overweight, caused by a habitually bad diet. At the time of her diagnosis, she could not believe that she could be diabetic. The sad part about it was the disease took the lives of her mother, aunt, and uncle. And she was on the same path.

However, she determined that she was not going to let this disease rob her of her life. Ms. LaBelle changed her lifestyle habits; she began to eat right, she began to exercise, she began to lose the weight. And, as a result, she managed to bring her diabetes under control, so that it would not steal the quality of her life away. But she also learned that she could still eat the things that she enjoyed, if she changed the way she prepared and cooked those things. She learned that there were ways to eat what she enjoyed if they were prepared in healthier ways.

After discussing the despair of diagnosis, and then the subsequent overcoming of her potentially hopeless situation, the interviewer asked Ms. LaBelle a very interesting question. Ms. LaBelle was asked, "What did diabetes take from you?"

Her answer was very enlightening. Ms. LaBelle replied, "My freedom." Then, with a smile, she added, "But then I learned about my 'diabetes freedom'. I learned that if I simply changed my lifestyle, I actually have more freedom to be what I am."

The last sentence is not an exact quote, but it is accurate in the sentiment. You see, Ms. LaBelle was forced to make some lifestyle alterations in order that her condition might not eventually take her life, and also not destroy the quality of her life. She said that her mother had lost both legs to the disease, and her uncle had gone blind, and she did not wish the quality of her life to be slowly diminished and destroyed. And she learned that, even with this disease, she found a freedom that was even more free than before she became diabetic.

Allow me to focus this to the spiritual. The Apostle Paul wrote these words in Galatians 5:1; "It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by the yoke of slavery." I have always found those words to be somewhat confusing and redundant. Well, "duh!" Of course Christ set us free so we could be free! But I think, as Ms. LaBelle illustrated in the interview, there are different kinds of 'freedom'. I do believe the Apostle Paul illuminated this in several of his letters, all throughout the New Testament.

Ms. LaBelle had "freedom" before her diagnosis. She was free to eat what she wanted, to live her life any way she chose. She had the financial ability, she had the popularity, she had the well-established career, she had the fame. Those things do bring a certain kind of "freedom". She had a plethora of options at her command. But once she was diagnosed with this dread disease, the fame, popularity, wealth, and prestige no longer meant anything. In fact, the very lifestyle that brought her freedom, may have helped contribute to her now being bound with diabetes. I am not saying that "fame" or "fortune" gave her diabetes. However, the actions that result from a lifestyle of fame, that often says "I can do, say, eat, or live any way I want", are important self-contributors to certain kinds of bondage.

Ms. Labelle had a condition that had several factors, at least two of which were out of her control. The first was that she is a black woman, and that was not her choice, nor her problem. But many diseases have a higher incidence in blacks, and other minorities, than in whites. But that was not in her control. The second was that there was a genetic family history of diabetes, as Ms. LaBelle had immediate family that passed the traits for the disease to her. Again, totally beyond her control.

However, the third factor involved was the personal contributions to her own health. And that was in her control. She made lifestyle choices (perhaps afforded her by her fame and fortune) that were unwise, unhealthy, and unfit. Now, she did not elaborate on those unhealthy choices, other than bad diet and lack of exercise. And, willing to give her the benefit of the doubt, there may not have been more than that. There may have been drugs, there may have been drunkenness, there may have been debauchery. But I do not know, nor do I really care. Because it also may have been an abuse of good things. Either way, the fact remains, her lifestyle choices contributed to her becoming diabetic.

Ms. LaBelle even stated flatly in the interview, "I knew I needed a lifestyle change." And she was right. While she lost the kind of freedom that says "I can have and do all things without cost or consequence", she now recognized that there is a freedom that is not without a price. Yes, freedom is priceless, but not because it doesn't have value or doesn't cost anything. It is priceless because there is nothing that can equal it's value.

Circling back to the Apostle Paul, with regard to freedom that is in Christ, he writes in Galatians 5:13, "You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love."

Folks, as Christians we are called to be free. But, some regard that as a freedom to do anything we please, and that any restriction is not freedom. But that is not the Biblical view of freedom, and, as Ms. Labelle discovered, there are different types of freedom.

The Apostle Peter comes to the same conclusion as Paul, when he writes in I Peter 2:16, "Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God." So, both Peter and Paul declare that there is a distinction in between types of freedom. Actually, it is not so much 'type' as it is perception of freedom. Real freedom is in Christ Jesus; any other is simply bondage to the devil. But that is a little beyond the scope of this article.

However, again Paul illustrates the distinction between the "types" of freedom. He writes in Romans 6:20-23, "When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! But now that you have been set free from sin and become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."

You see, there are really two types of freedom: Freedom in the flesh, which emancipates you from God, and thus produces death. The other is freedom in Christ, which emancipates you from sin, and thus produces life. And interestingly enough, a lifestyle change must occur. Paul used an interesting term in the Romans 6 passage. He used the term "wages".

Well, wages are something you earn. It is something paid to you as a result of your work. It is an obligation, not a gift. You have traded your time and effort to build another's business for a certain amount of money or agreed benefit. You are hiring yourself out. Literally, you are hiring yourself out to Satan, as his workers. Sin pays the dividend of death.

Sin is a disease. It comes to us through heredity and family (the human race). But it is grown and made manifest in us by our own lifestyle choices. Ms. Labelle probably already had the disease before she was diagnosed. Yet her lifestyle choices made her condition worse. Eventually, lifestyle choices that were made in freedom, would have become the very shackles of that disease. And the benefit she would have reaped would have been both bondage and physical death. But when she realized that she had the disease, she opted to make lifestyle choices that gave her a new "freedom". And she actually lives better and more free than before she had the disease.

Please do not misunderstand me. I am not suggesting that we simply change our lifestyle, and therefore we are righteous in God's sight. That is not the

Scriptural view of our need. However, part of our coming to God to be cleansed by the Blood of Christ is to recognize our sin and confess our need for a Savior. And then, once we've been cleansed by Christ, in the act of repentance, we are now freed to live a lifestyle of freedom. In Christ, we are no longer bound to the "payroll" of the devil. We are no longer obligated to live a lifestyle that may make us free temporarily, yet does not come without a heavy price tag.

Question for the band

Q:How does ministry and/or preaching fit into your shows?

Band:That's an interesting question. It has always been the goal of Jesus Joshua 24:15 to preach the Gospel to the lost. However, the type of preaching that we might do may have little to do with the traditional sense of the word. Our approach to ministry has always been to let the music and the show do the talking, drawing people in, and that quality show give us an opportunity to meet, greet, and connect with individuals after the music is done.

That's not to say that we won't mention Christ during the course of the show; we will, of course. Everything about the band points to Christ. Just look at the name we bear! I remember our very first show as a band (12 years ago). We were invited to an outside barbecue meal, and I overheard two older ladies in a conversation.

One asked, "What's their name? Jesus?" and the other lady replied, "Well, at least you know where they stand." That pretty much says it all, doesn't it?

But when I say that we don't preach in a traditional sense, I mean that we aren't on stage "having church." Chances are, when people come to a show, they generally fall into two categories: either they are Christians looking to have a good time and some worship, and the lost, who are not interested in church. The lost want their money's worth. And we don't blame them. If I go to see a band, I want to see a band, not a band having "church". That doesn't mean we can't speak about what we believe. But it does mean that we had better deliver the goods. If we are going to reach the lost, then we cannot be "having church."

We know that answer is going to offend some of our brethren. "Well, it is important we tell them about Jesus!" they will say. And we agree. But, you can tell someone about Jesus in many ways. I mean, our name is "Jesus." All of our songs talk about Jesus in some fashion. We just think that we have to tailor our methods to the situations we find ourselves in.

We once played in a bar, and we didn't change one thing about our show. We even were the headliners. The sound guy was excellent. The owner of the place really liked us. I mean, they treated us better than some Christian places that have hired us. We had a huge crowd, until we got to the song "You're Wrong". The chorus goes "You're Wrong! You're wrong! You're Wrong! God is right!" After that song, the crowd thinned out. We didn't have to utter one word of "preaching", but the crowd felt the power. And we don't want people to leave the show, mind you, but we aren't afraid to say what we need to say.

Anyway, after the show, I went to shake hands with the owner of the place, and tell him how much we appreciated the privilege. This big, tough looking guy, gave me a huge hug, and told me we were welcome any time! That says volumes to us about how much ministry this guy received. We didn't have to have a sermon, because the songs are the sermons.

There is no question as to what we're about and who we are. So we can use the show to get us closer to each person and become friends. We create a fan base. We are not insurance salesmen. We are making human connections by the gift of music that God has given us. We aren't trying to mark a scorecard.

Guitar Points from Will

Voice Leading

Last month's article on the tritione mentioned how you can move notes around the tritone to create different chords. For example, if you have the trione interval E-Bb (Root-b5 in the key of E), and you play just those two notes, you have an E(b5) (which is distinctly different from an "Eb5" because one is "E" and the other is "Eb").


E(b5) E|-------------------------|| B|-------------------------|| G|-------------------------|| D|-8(Bb)-------------------|| A|-7(E )-------------------|| E|-------------------------||

Now, if we take those two notes and add other notes around them, we can actually create totally new chords, using the same two notes as the main ingredients. This is part of the voice-leading technique. Voice-leading is how you transition from one chord to another smoothly. Sometimes, you can change entire chords by altering or moving just one note! There are other ways to accomplish this besides the tritone, but since we are there, let's continue to use this structure.

Okay, so now we have the E-Bb. Let's add a note to this tritone. Let's add a "C", and put it in the lower register.


C7 (no 5th) E|-------------------------|| B|-------------------------|| G|-------------------------|| D|-8(Bb)-------------------|| A|-7(E )-------------------|| E|-8(C )-------------------||

If we look at the Key of C Major, we have the following:



Notice that in the Key of C, there's a "B" natural, and in this case, a Major 7. But our C7(no5) chord has a "Bb". That means that the "Bb' is a Dominant 7, or "b7".



At any rate, we have gone from the E(b5) to a C7(no5) with the addition of one note. Why is this useful? Well, have one guitar play a series of power chords, going from E(b5) to C5;

E(b5) C5 E(b5) C5 P.M. P.M. P.M. P.M.---| E|-----------------------------|| B|-----------------------------|| G|-----------------------------|| D|-8-----5-----8-----5---------|| A|-7-----3-----7-----3---------|| E|---0-0---0-0---0-0---0-0-0-0-||

(P.M.=Palm Mute)

Now, have another guitar play an arpeggiation (a chord single noted instead of strummed) Along with the power chord part. Notice both parts compliment each other.


|------let ring-----------| E Bb E Bb C Bb E Bb E|------------------------|| B|------------------------|| G|----3----3--5--3-----3--|| D|-2-----2----------2-----|| A|------------------------|| E|------------------------||

This technique was used famously by Def Leppard. However, bands like Pantera, Iron Maiden, and Metallica have also used this effective device. Of course, this is more orchestration of parts, rather than actual voice-leading, but it is part of how voice-leading works.

Now, that we have examined how you can go from one chord to another with one note change, let's add another chord to the mix, but still use the basic tritones as our primary ingredient. Let's add the Gb7 (or F#7),spelled Gb(1)-Bb(3)-Db(5)-Fb(b7) {Note: There is no such thing as an "Fb". It is really an"E", but we use the note name "Fb" to fit the Gb7 chord} If we respell this chord as an "F#7" we have F#(1)-A#(3)-C#(5)-E(b7).

Both "Gb7" and "F#7" are the same, as far as actual pitch is concerned. They are known as enharmonic equivalents. However, they read differently according to the application they are placed. Since in this case, we are using the notes "E" and "Bb" as our basic ingredient, it is important to understand the similarities.

Let's look at the next example;

E(b5) C7(no5) Gb7(no5) E|-------------------------|| B|-------------------------|| G|------------------9(E)---|| D|-8(Bb)---8(Bb)----8(Bb)--|| A|-7(E)----7(E)-----9(Gb)--|| E|---------8(C)------------||

Now, in this example, we had to switch the order of the tritone notes, BUT the tritone still remains the same. So now we have 3 different chords, but all of them utilize the same internal voices. That's called voice-leading. You want to try and maximize as much sound movement with as little finger movement as possible.

Here is an arpeggiation of the same idea:


F#7(no5) E(b5)-----------| C7(no5)---------| Gb7(no5)----------| E|-----------------|-----------------|-------------------|| B|-----------------|-----------------|-------------------|| G|-----3-----3-----|-----3-----3-----|-----3------3------|| D|---2-----2---2---|---2-----2---2---|---2------2---2----|| A|-----------------|-3-----3-------3-|-------------------|| E|-0-----0-------0-|-----------------|-2------2--------2-||

As you can see, the notes on the 4th and 3rd strings remain constant, while the lower notes move around. Experiment with other movements, while maintaining certain notes. Next month, we'll examine this feature even further.

Lead Techniques from Will

Slides Part 2

Last month we looked at slides as a way to phrase, and we worked on some exercises to develop that technique. This month, let's use the slide in a more musical way.

Slides can be used to shift from one scale position to another. Since you only have four fingers on the fretboard, slides allow a smooth position shift from one area to another. In the first example, let's look at a shift from one pentatonic scale pattern to another.


o 2 o 1 o 1 o 1 o 3 o 3/3 1 3 1 2 1 4 1 4 1 3 1 E|---------------------0-3/5-3---------------------|| B|-----------------0-3---------5-3-----------------|| G|-------------0-2-----------------4-2-------------|| D|---------0-2-------------------------5-2---------|| A|-----0-2---------------------------------5-2-----|| E|-0-3-----------------------------------------5-3-||

The numbers above the TAB are my suggested fingerings, and are not in any way etched in stone. However, you see how a simple slide can now put your fingers into a new position to access another scale pattern.

You can also use a slide to shift from one position to another, without going up and down all 6 strings. In the next example, I shall use slides to shift from one part of a C Major scale, up the length of just 2 strings, to other positions in the scale.


v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ v ^ (etc.) E|-------0-1-3-5-3-1-------------3-5-7/8-7-5--------|| B|-0-1-3-------------5-3-1/3-5-6-------------8-6-5/-|| G|--------------------------------------------------|| D|--------------------------------------------------|| A|--------------------------------------------------|| E|--------------------------------------------------|| E|--------7-8-10/12-10-8------------------10-12-13/|| B|-6-8-10----------------12-10-8/10-12-13----------|| G|-------------------------------------------------|| D|-------------------------------------------------|| A|-------------------------------------------------|| E|-------------------------------------------------|| E|-15-13-12-------------------10-12-13\12-10-8---------|| B|----------15-13-12\10-12-13------------------12-10-8\|| G|-----------------------------------------------------|| D|-----------------------------------------------------|| A|-----------------------------------------------------|| E|-----------------------------------------------------|| E|--------7-8-10\8-7-5-------------3-5-7\5-3-1-------|| B|-6-8-10--------------8-6-5\3-5-6-------------5-3-1-|| G|---------------------------------------------------|| D|---------------------------------------------------|| A|---------------------------------------------------|| E|---------------------------------------------------||

As you can see, sliding allows for quick position shifts and smooth lines. Now in the last example, the slides can be heard as part of the line. But you can go back and play silent slides, where the slide is only used for shift, not sound.

Rather than break the pick strokes, continue in an alternate picking pattern, even when you slide into the note.

Try using example 1 to work through the two pentatonic positions I have given. Try sliding on different strings, at different frets. This will help your phrasing, and make you freer when changing phrases. Then go to example 2, and if you have any other scale patterns memorized, try shifting through them on 2 strings.

News and Events

  • Soul Joy Records CEO David Kelsey has been extremely ill, and this can be potentially disastrous, both financially and physically. But David Kelsey believes that God is in complete control, and is neither worried nor in despair. However, he still needs our prayers!

  • Continue to keep Jim Bishop's father in your prayers. He has improved, as of last report.

  • Jesus Joshua 24:15 will be sharing the stage with fellow Soul Joy recording artists Wisdom's Call, in support of their CD release party. The date is April 26,2008. The locale is the SORG Opera House in Middletown Ohio. Another special guest will be our friends and fellow Soul Joy artists, Eden's Way. Show begins at 7PM.

  • Jesus Joshua will also 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.

  • 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:

  • You can also check out Will's Myspace

  • Happy Birthday to AnonJr March 31.

A Final Thought

Folks, as I reflect on the month of March, I realized we are approaching Easter, the celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, we tell the story of His crucifixion and death. Yes, we tell the tale of His being placed in the grave. Those are important parts of the story. But they aren't the final chapter. It is the Resurrection that is we celebrate. Why? Because Jesus is alive!

And Jesus came back in a bodily, physical form. Yes, He was a spirit. But He told those He appeared to to "touch" His hands, feet, and side, where He suffered the agonizing wounds. Why would a spirit need to do that? Jesus also physically ate meals with His disciples after His Resurrection. Why? Because Jesus is alive, He isn't just some metaphysical being, existing outside the human veil. He is very much alive and involved with people's lives. And Him being alive means that He does what He said He would do: change lives. Jesus isn't just a non-corporeal entity. He is the very Incarnation of God, and has power even over death!

As you contemplate Easter, think of it in terms of victory, not somber defeat. Think of it as a new beginning, not a bitter end. The whole message of the Gospel tells us that He is alive, and is completely interested in our lives. Even down to the mundane details of a meal together. We serve a Risen and Living Savior, not a dead philosopher.

"C'mon Dave, Gimme a break!"

Edited by - AXEMAN2415 on 01 Mar 2008 14:25:17

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