The grass withers, the flowers fade…

My friends Kara and Ryan, who founded and run Imana Kids, posted a photo to the Imana Instagram account with the text of Isaiah 40:8: “The grass withers and the flowers fade, but the word of our God stands forever.”

This verse imprinted on me in a most unique way when I was a teenager. Anyone who knows me knows I was a metalhead in my teen years (and I still am). After I discovered Stryper, and the realm of Christian metal, I came across a Christian rock band called Ruscha. The band was founded by brothers Nikolai and Peter Pankratz, who escaped Communist Russia in the 1970s. They started the band in the 1980s as an outlet for their love of music, and as a vehicle for giving witness to what it was like to be a Christian in Soviet Russia. Andy Denton, whose vocal range is highlighted on the song “Come Home”, was the group’s frontman.

There was a church in one of the Baton Rouge suburbs, Baker or Zachary maybe, I don’t recall which, that hosted the band. (It was the same church I also saw Wayne Watson perform at.) My dad went with me to the event, part concert, part testimony. I’d gotten their album “Come Alive” at a local Christian book store, and loved some of the songs. I can still see in my mind’s eye Andy, Nikolai, and Peter on stage in that church.

There are two things from that album and concert that have stuck with me to this day:
+ Nikolai and Peter talking about believers smuggling individual pages of the Russian-language Bibles in slits in potatoes, and how if the pages were left in there too long, they were ruined by the potatoes’ fluids. They salvaged whatever pieces they could, because people were that starved for the Word of God.
+ The song “The Word Stands Forever”, which uses Isaiah 40:8 as the chorus. It’s the only Ruscha song I can still sing by heart.

The memories I just shared, stirred up by the Imana Kids post, sent me on an Internet hunt, and the Internet delivered. There’s a Wikipedia entry for the band, linked to earlier in this post. Which led me to wonder if any of their music was available online; the copy of “Come Alive” I have is on cassette, and most likely buried in a shoebox in a closet. We have an Amazon Music Unlimited subscription, and lo and behold! The Pankratzes released a remastered version in 2012, and I’m listening to it as I type this post, with a smile on my face as I sing along to “The grass withers, the flowers fade, Heaven and Earth will pass away, the grass withers, the flowers fade, but the Word of God stands forever.”

Hey, everyone, it’s Brent’s birthday…

…so let’s all celebrate by:
+ jamming out to Social Distortion, Pennywise, Son Volt, Pearl Jam, and Nirvana
+ having a good laugh while watching stupid-funny movies
+ diving into a good book
+ passionately teach a group of high schoolers how much God loves them, and how they can love Him
+ show off our family through Proud Dad & Uncle Alerts
+ fill up a journal with our innermost thoughts and secrets, even if we never share them with anyone else
+ do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with our God
Happy birthday, bro. Love ya.

Today’s Shuffle 10

I haven’t done this in a while, so here are the first ten songs from the iPod’s shuffle mode today:
Remedy” – David Crowder Band
Already” – Rush of Fools
The Fist Fight/The Flying Wing” – Raiders of the Lost Ark Original Motion Picture Soundtrack
Once Again” – Matt Redman
666 Degrees” – Ceili Rain
There’s No Way” – Alabama
There’s a Mother Always Waiting at Home” – Johnny Cash *
Go” – MercyMe
Dr. Feelgood” – Motley Crue
The Wall” – Johnny Cash
As usual, all links are to the song on the Amazon MP3 store, except those marked with an asterisk. Those links are to the physical CD, as the song isn’t sold in MP3 format.

Today’s Genius function result

We’ve all had that song that gets stuck in our head. That happened to me today. Not sure how it happened, since I didn’t hear the song in a commercial or TV show, or anything like that. Just one second, it was there.
The song? “Edge of Seventeen,” by Stevie Nicks.
So when it came time to go pick D up from school, as we departed from the house, I cranked that very song in the truck for S and I to enjoy. While sitting at a stop light, I decided to use the Genius function to create a playlist of like-minded songs, and here’s the result:
* “Edge of Seventeen” — Stevie Nicks
* “The Chain” — Fleetwood Mac
* “Magic Man” — Heart
* “Wheel in the Sky” — Journey
* “Hungry Like the Wolf” — Duran Duran
* “Heat of the Moment” (Acoustic) — Asia
* “Every Little Thing She Does is Magic” — The Police
* “Hold The Line” — Toto
* “Sharp Dressed Man” — ZZ Top
* “Brass in Pocket” — The Pretenders
* “Your Love” — The Outfield
* “These Dreams” — Heart
* “Baby, I Love Your Way” — Peter Frampton
* “Leather and Lace” (with Don Henley) — Stevie Nicks
* “You Spin Me Round (Like A Record)” — Dead Or Alive
* “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?” — Rod Stewart
* “Go Your Own Way” — Fleetwood Mac
* “Renegade” — Styx
* “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” — Journey
* “Crazy On You” — Heart
* “So Caught Up In You” — 38 Special
* “Dream Weaver” — Gary Wright
* “Just What I Needed” — The Cars
* “Here I Go Again” — Whitesnake
* “Won’t Get Fooled Again” — The Who
The inclusion of “The Chain” raised my eyebrows. I expected Fleetwood Mac to make an appearance, given Nicks’ membership in the band. The rest of the list, mostly staples of the ’80s, is also not surprising, except for “Dream Weaver” and “Here I Go Again”. Losing the former makes the playlist that much better, and the only reason it’s in my library is because it was on a soundtrack (likely Wayne’s World) or compilation.