curated music 
for devotional worship

October 28th, 2020   //   "I Arise Today (Christ Be With Me)"  written by Joshua Kauffman

It was really fun to record one of my songs live with my sister Andrea on vocals, and with my friends: Jon on drums, Ben on bass and vocals, Jaron on electric guitar, and Larry on mandolin!  I wanted to share some of the back story of this song with you, it's a paraphrase of a poem/prayer called "St. Patrick's Breastplate."

According to tradition, St. Patrick wrote the poem known as "St. Patrick's Breastplate" or "St. Patrick's Lorica" in 433 A.D. as he brought the gospel of Jesus to the nation of Ireland!  He travelled the country with his message and was physically attacked by those who counted his message a threat - his life was quite literally in mortal danger!

This prayer/song is most definitely NOT an exercise in flowery words.  It is the desperate prayer of a man who is invoking the protection of God over his life, for Christ to be with him, his front and his rear guard, as St. Patrick ventured forward on his mission. As such, it is very much like one of the Psalms of King David, whose life was also often under threat, and yet his songs displayed great faith in the saving love of God.  And finally it calls to mind the words of the apostle Paul who exhorts Christians to put on the full armor of God so that we are able to "stand firm against the devil's schemes."  See the powerful words of Ephesians 6:10-17.   That scripture fits very well the embattled context of St. Patrick, as well as the spiritually embattled context of our own lives today.  In Ephesians 6, Paul describes one piece of the armor as the "breastplate of righteousness." St. Patrick's "Breastplate" indeed, for it is the righteousness of Jesus that saves and protects us!

Besides rephrasing many of the original lyrics of "St. Patrick's Breastplate" to work rhythmically with my own original tune here, I've also added an original lyrical bridge section which ties the concept of Christ "surrounding us" to the sacrament of baptism. The bridge says "I have been baptized into my Savior, I have been clothed by the righteousness of the Lord." My inspiration was what the apostle Paul says in Galations 3:27: "for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ."  I really like the connection of Christ surrounding us, with being clothed in Christ, with putting on the full armor of God.  Anyway, I pray this song stirs up an Amen in your heart and builds up your faith in Jesus!

October 21st, 2020   //   "Simple Gospel" with Joshua Kauffman

In chapter 3 of the apostle Paul's letter to the Philippians he says that all of his religious credibility with regard to his immense knowledge and observance of the Mosaic law is basically not worth anything to him anymore -- what a shocking statement!  Instead, Paul says he wants to know Jesus, the living and risen Christ!  

The "simple gospel" we rejoice about in this song is the good news about a new kind of relationship with God!  Jesus describes it as a friendship!  He does this in John 15:15 where he says to his disciples, I no longer call you servants, instead I have called you friends.  And so we sing, "I want to know you Lord, like I know a friend.... I will rejoice in the simple gospel, I will rejoice in You Lord."

When the lyrics say "I'm laying down all my religion" we have something like Paul's situation from Philippians 3 in mind: laying down personal religious merits based on our own religious knowledge, achievements or status, and saying "I want to know YOU Lord."  What an incredible honor. Jesus himself is the good news and the simple gospel!

October 14th, 2020   //   "Amazing Grace" led by Misha Goetz, John Moessner, & Joshua Kauffman

It is likely that this simple song has resonated in more mouths, and more hearts, and more minds, and more ears, and more gatherings than any other song of worship in all of human history. . .  

September 30, 2020   //   "Graves Into Gardens"  led by Ben Vete, Joshua Kauffman, & Bo Waltz

A transformation! 
The bridge of this song contains the evocative word pictures from which we get the title of the song: You turn graves into gardens / You turn bones into armies.  And both of those images remind me that God is a God of resurrecting transformation!  
The "bones into armies" word picture is a reference to a resurrection story called the "Valley of Dry Bones" found in Ezekiel 37:1-14, which I recommend you read!
As for the "graves into gardens" word picture, Jesus, in John 12:24-25 said that a seed must die in order to produce more fruit (a "garden" reference even as he is speaking of his own impending death and burial in the "grave"). Jesus goes on to say that if we try to hold on to our lives we won't be able to, but if we give them up (for his sake) we will inherit eternal life.  And then, his actual resurrection from the grave proved this this very thing to his disciples as Mary first sees Jesus resurrected from the grave, in the garden, living and breathing again, and his disciples ultimately see him ascend into heaven where he is alive today!
Jesus' "graves into gardens" resurrection experience is the basis for the apostle Paul encouraging us about our own coming resurrection in 1 Corinthians 15:42, where Paul says, "That's how it will be when our bodies are raised to life. These bodies will die, but the bodies that are raised will live forever."  
So be encouraged. We are in God's hands today and all of our tomorrows, and nothing is better than that!

September 23, 2020   //   "Holy, Holy, Holy"

Worshiping with American Sign Language
You are invited to take 3 minutes with this video and turn your heart to the Lord as Hadley Barber shares her own ASL interpretation of the beloved hymn - “Holy, Holy, Holy” - sung and played here by myself (Joshua Kauffman) and Paul Duncan. I hope it inspires you to worship!
It is also a great reminder that not everyone is able to worship with singing, or with hearing, or even with standing up.  We are all differently abled.  
1 Samuel 16:7 “…For the Lord does not look at things the way man does. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”