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Lee Hawkins, Impressed All through the Lockdown, Recorded 'Gospel Songs' – Shepherd Categorical



Oct. 13, 2021
7:53 a.m.
“I’ve by no means as soon as thought of simply being a musician. I don’t suppose the folks in ‘the village’ would have let me do this. I might have by no means sought after to restrict myself to track, however on the identical time, I will be able to’t do with out it.”
Thus, Lee Hawkins, a UW Madison graduate and previous Milwaukee Magazine Sentinel trade reporter, explains his appeal to each track and journalism. The latter supplies his full-time source of revenue by the use of his paintings for The Wall Boulevard Magazine. Song, on the other hand, is taking a extra distinguished position in Hawkins’ lifestyles at the present time as he promotes his newest album, Gospel Songs, Quantity One.   
As with such a lot artwork seeing public free up in fresh months, COVID-19 has performed an element in Gospel Songs‘ inception. “As a result of the pandemic, I used to be not able to visit in-person church services and products, and I overlooked the power of the are living choir track,” Hawkins recollects. “I attempted staring at on-line services and products, but it surely wasn’t the similar, and I used to be disconnected from the non secular power that generally fuels me for every week on every occasion I’m going to a Baptist carrier.” 
Stoking Creativity
The absence of edifying track carried out are living, on the other hand, stoked creativity that had laid dormant since his dad’s passing now not lengthy ahead of the onset of pandemic lockdowns. “A couple of months into the pandemic, I were given a hurry of inspiration. It compelled me to take a seat down on the keyboard and bang out some ideas,” Hawkins explains. Simply as coronavirus restrictions that dispose of church fellowship induced Hawkins’ need to make pleasant track, those self same restrictions guided the studio procedures that led to the use of singers rather than himself. However that grew to become out smartly for all concerned. 
“I decided on the singers via taking note of dozens upon dozens of demos. There are such a large amount of superb singers in the market, however I discovered those that gave the impression to paintings with my musical means,” Hawkins recollects of matching voices to Gospel Songs’ 10 tracks. “I gave them the liberty to advert lib and to make the songs theirs. They in point of fact favored that, as it’s such a lot more straightforward to paintings with songwriters/manufacturers who can in reality sing out the portions.” Hawkins’ use of falsetto even allowed him to report reference vocal tracks for the feminine singers he hired
 So, listeners who loved Hawkins’ interpretations of his personal songs, final heard in complete album style on 2015’s Christmas-themed Songs About The Start of Jesus, received’t have the similar alternative along with his newest effort. Then again, he’s happy to dispel the perception that there’s a dearth of making a song skill a number of the present technology. “The existing knowledge is this technology falls quick when compared to people who got here ahead of, however I disagree. I feel displays like The Voice and platforms like YouTube have helped a large number of the adolescence increase improbable voices. The result’s entire new technology of other people with stunning voices,” Hawkins says.
Amid the non secular encouragement he gave himself and hopes to supply others along with his Songs, he exclaims that probably the most relaxing side of recording the alum used to be, “listening to all of the stunning voices, together with the voices of people that aren’t in this album however will be featured on a long run challenge.”
The album’s multiplicity of solo making a song voices, without any of them being Hawkins’ personal, isn’t its handiest strange difference. His songs show theological rigor hardly ever heard within the soul gospel heard on business radio at the present time. That scriptural intensity is however some other results of final yr’s well being panic. As a result of Hawkins wasn’t glad with livestream-abetted approximations of Sunday carrier, “writing those songs used to be nearly like a type of Religious study for me,” he stocks. “You’ll understand that I in reality cite Bible verses. Once I write track and use the Bible, it lets in me to reread verses and tales and suppose significantly in regards to the tale I’m seeking to inform and the message I’m seeking to get throughout within the tune.
“I do it this manner as a result of I’ve heard my fair proportion of preachers within the Baptist church whose messages are lengthy on taste however quick on Biblical substance,” Hawkins says, critiquing his personal denominational custom, including, “They may learn one verse from the Bible after which shut it and discuss for 45 mins with out referring to their sermon to the Bible.”
Evangelical Pop
Hawkins’ complaint extends to the evangelical pop scene to which gospel artists comparable to CeCe Winans and Kirk Franklin on occasion go over. “We see a large number of that during Christian recent track lately; a few of it’s so just about secular that it will as smartly be secular. As an alternative of claiming ‘God’ or ‘Jesus,’ individuals are pronouncing ‘He’’ and ‘Him’ and ‘You,’ and albeit, occasionally I have no idea if I’m taking note of somebody serenading their boyfriend or female friend or if they’re making a song about Jesus.” 
He realizes that having full-time paintings in journalism lets in him freedom to resist affect others who depend on making a song for his or her whole residing. “I acknowledge that I’ve an entire further occupation and stable source of revenue, and that individuals who handiest do track may really feel burdened in ways in which I’m really not. However I’m in point of fact playing integrating my track with Religious study, and it is been a laugh.”
If the Lord is Hawkins’ final inspiration for the track he makes about Him, the local Minnesotan’s run large as his non secular center of attention is slender. Circle of relatives got here first despite the fact that. “My dad used to be a musician and in point of fact nice singer and guitar participant. Not like many gospel households, we weren’t discouraged from taking note of secular track. So on a daily basis, he performed Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes, Bobby Womack, Sam Cooke and the entire greats. So, I had that and in addition my track, which integrated hip-hop, R&B, rock.”
The confluence of his Hawkins’ house environs and that of certainly one of his adolescence’s maximum influential personalities had its bearing, too. “As a result of I used to be a Minnesota child, I used to be a large fan of Prince and the Minneapolis sound.” And that “village,” of which Hawkins spoke previous consisted of “a wide variety of notable musicians residing throughout us, and because my dad used to be a musician, I used to be round a large number of them.”
Shifting On
Shifting round and out of the Midwest has broadened Hawkins’ musical appreciation in techniques mirrored on Tracks, too. Number one amongst his influences outdoor gospel is recent Italian artwork track composer pianist Ludovico Einaudi, whose Elegy for the Arctic, Hawkins says is “is likely one of the songs that I concentrate to when I get within the temper to be ingenious, each journalistically and musically.” Moreover, “I additionally am closely influenced via the New York Philharmonic and anything else orchestral. I’m recognized to visit Lincoln Heart on my own and simply sit down there within the center orchestra seats and get misplaced within the richness of the sound and the track. It will occasionally make me shed a little bit tear.”
Most likely unsurprisingly, track is a significant means through which Hawkins pertains to the Almighty. “I connect with God extra deeply via track than I do via listening to sermons. In some ways, the way in which that are living classical track makes me really feel is like listening to a sermon.
Except his affection for classical track. Hawkins admits to having been impacted via acts spanning a gamut from synth popsters Depeche Mode to neo-soul paragon Maxwell. In as far as his personal songwriting, he cites a distinguished determine in present mainstream nation track, Luke Laird. “I really like him as a result of he has eclectic influences … hip-hop, nation, rock, the whole lot. He doesn’t prohibit himself and that’s how I’m. I admire that means, and the ones sorts of individuals are generally present in Nashville.”
Keen on Milwaukee
Although his musicality derives from far-raging assets stylisticly and geographically Hawkins hasn’t forgotten Milwaukee in its make-up, and certainly one of its citizens particularly. “Milwaukee is the place I met manufacturer George Nash Jr. who I believe to be just like the brother I by no means had. He principally taught me the best way to concentrate again to my track, and to stay my manufacturing requirements extraordinarily prime,” he says in reward of the person additionally related to the luck of Milwaukee local soul singer Eric Benet. 
“Extra widely, Hawkins provides in regards to the town, “I used to be ready to increase extra as a are living performer and to construct an target market. I were given airtime on V100 (WKKV 100.7 FM) and did a whole lot of interviews on ‘The Boogie Bang’ display on WMSE and at the Fox TV associate. I did a ton of Summerfest displays, the WAMIs, the Velvet Room, at the display ‘Lodge Milwaukee’ and different venues and sang at Greenbacks video games, a wide variety of performances. For this reason Milwaukee at all times approach such a lot to me.”
Amongst different Milwaukeeans the most important to Hawkins’ musical maturation come with his former reserving supervisor, Keith Borkowski, about whom he recollects, “I met him when he used to be an intern at V100. He used to be this child who sought after to do public members of the family and control, and over time, I watched him increase from a goldfish right into a literal shark. He’s nonetheless doing so much in Milwaukee lately as an entrepreneur and businessman, and I’m tremendous happy with him.” Hawkins additionally cites Gerald Williamson, an affiliate of Nash’s about whom the making a song trade reporter remarks, “He has a in point of fact excellent ear, and his enter is helping me reach extra readability within the mixes. Even after shifting to New York Town, my track nonetheless has sturdy ties to Wisconsin.”
 Wisconsinites, nor any individual else, will prone to pay attention Hawkins carry out or head up a excursion supporting Gospel Songs any time quickly despite the fact that. “I don’t see myself appearing within the close to long run, however I may see it taking place inside the subsequent 3 years. I wish to get out of the pandemic. Presently, I’m in point of fact interested by my journalism paintings, and this is a very busy time.”
A few of what little spare time he can carve out it will be devoted to composing and recording extra gospel despite the fact that. About that that, he beans, “My hope is that I will be able to proceed to do extra volumes through the years if handiest as a result of it’s spiritually pleasant, and since I will be able to’t call to mind anything else this is extra a laugh and certain to do in my lifestyles than to make gospel albums that includes one of the crucial absolute best singers and choirs in the market.”
Jamie Lee Rake is a contract creator based totally in Waupun, Wis. whose large breadth of tastes in and research of track and meals put him in excellent stead to jot down about the ones very issues for Shepherd Categorical.
Oct. 13, 2021
7:53 a.m.
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The Friend Who Sticks Closer than a Brother




The Friend Who Sticks Closer than a Brother

Embracing True Friendship: The Friend Who Sticks Closer Than a Brother

Friendship is a valuable asset that enriches our lives by providing companionship, support, and a shoulder to cry on. But have you ever had a buddy who goes above and beyond—someone who remains closer than a brother? In a world where relationships can be fickle, a friend who sticks by us through thick and thin is a rare and priceless gift.

More Than Just Blood Ties

Consider the tie between siblings, which is based on blood and shared history. Consider a buddy who is more than just a family member. “One who has untrustworthy friends soon comes to ruin,” says Proverbs 18:24 (NIV), “but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

This verse describes a friendship that goes beyond basic conditions. It’s a bond founded on trust, loyalty, and real concern for one another.

Continuous Support

Consider a buddy who is present not only during happy times but also during difficult times. This type of friend is unconcerned about changing circumstances or personal gain. They provide their presence, encouragement, and steadfast support.

Jesus expresses the core of such friendship in John 15:13 (NIV): “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. This selfless affection serves as the foundation for a lasting connection.

Journeys Together

Consider a friend you’ve shared many stages of life with—the highs, the lows, and everything in between. This shared experience forges a link that extends beyond surface-level exchanges. The value of companionship is brilliantly captured in Ecclesiastes 4:9–10 (NIV): “Two are better than one because they have a good return for their labor. If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.”

A friend who sticks closer than a brother is someone who goes beside us through life’s ups and downs, lending a solid hand and an ear to listen.

A Mirror of God’s Love

As a symbol of God’s love for us, consider the buddy who sticks closer than a brother. God Himself offers an unbroken, unchanging, and everlasting companionship. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord,” says the Bible in Romans 8:38–39.

God’s love is the ultimate paradigm of true friendship—a love that is not conditional but remains faithful regardless of what happens.

Conclusion: Value true friendship.

A friend who sticks closer to you than a sibling is a treasure to be treasured. This type of friendship is founded on love, trust, and mutual care rather than convenience or shared interests. May we seek to be that sort of friend to others in our lives, just as God offers us His unfailing love.

In a world where relationships can be fleeting, let us create friendships that will endure. Let us be the sort of friends who are present in both joy and sadness, who offer unconditional support, and who mirror God’s unfailing love. We are reminded of the beauty of true friendship, which clings closer than a brother, as we welcome and cherish these unique and valuable ties.

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The Just God




The Just God

The Just God: The Divine Balance of Justice and Mercy

The concept of justice is intertwined with the fabric of human society. We seek justice, responsibility, and reparation for wrongs done. But have you ever pondered a God who is not only just but also perfectly just? The Just God is a lighthouse of truth and righteousness, providing a profound awareness of justice and kindness that transcends human comprehension.

Justice in Pursuit

Consider a world where wrongdoers go unpunished and the disadvantaged have no recourse. The pursuit of justice is a natural human goal that reflects a feeling of rightness and order. And if we as humans value justice, how much more should the Creator of the universe, who is completely just?

According to Deuteronomy 32:4 (NIV), “He is the rock; his works are perfect, and all his ways are just. He is a loyal God who does no wrong, who is straight and just. This verse reveals God’s character, which is characterized by unwavering justice.

Justice and Mercy in Balance

Consider yourself in front of a judge who holds you accountable for every action and decision you make. Imagine that same judge showing mercy and giving you a second opportunity despite the evidence against you. The just God is kind as well as just.

This delicate balance is captured in Psalm 103:10–11 (NIV): “He does not treat us as our sins deserve, nor does He repay us according to our iniquities. For his love for people who fear him is as high as the skies are above the earth. God’s justice is balanced by his unending love and kindness.

The Redemption of Justice

Consider a debt that you will never be able to repay—a debt of mistakes and wrongs that weigh heavy on your soul. In His perfect justice, the just God provides a solution. God provides a mechanism for justice to be served and redemption to be offered through the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ.

“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” says Romans 3:23–24 (NIV), “and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. This is an example of justice being met via the redemptive act of Christ’s sacrifice.

A Call to Justice

Consider a society in which justice is not simply a notion but a way of life. In our interactions with others, the just God calls us to exemplify justice. Micah 6:8 (NIV) states unequivocally, “He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. What does the Lord expect of you? Act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.”

Living justly entails treating people with fairness, compassion, and respect, as the character of the just God requires.

Finishing: Adoring the Just God

The Just God asks us to comprehend the breadth of His justice—a justice that supports truth, requires accountability, and strikes a balance between mercy and justice. God’s justice and mercy merge in the person of Jesus Christ, offering us redemption and restoration.

May we turn to the just God as our ultimate standard as we traverse a world that frequently grapples with issues of fairness. May we seek His wisdom and counsel in order to live justly and treat others with love and justice. We find not only a paradigm of perfect justice but also an invitation to experience the transformative power of His kindness when we embrace the Just God.

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The Pleasure of Serving Others: A Pathway to Achievement




The Joy of Serving Others: A Pathway to Fulfillment

The Pleasure of Serving Others: A Highway to Contentment

Have you ever ever felt the nice and cozy glow that effects from lending a serving to hand to a stranger, the enjoyment that lasts for days after the act of kindness? That emotion offers a way of the pride of serving to others. The straightforward act of serving to can give us a sense of function and pleasure in contrast to the rest in a society that incessantly pushes us to place our consideration on ourselves.

The Want to Serve

Believe a society the place everybody labored to fortify the lives of people of their instant neighborhood. The need to lend a serving to hand, proportion a load, and supply comfort is on the core of carrier. The instance used to be established through Jesus Himself when he stated, “For even the Son of Guy didn’t come to be served, however to serve, and to provide his lifestyles as a ransom for plenty of.” (NIV, Mark 10:45)

Serving others is extra than just a nice deed; it is a way to emulate the compassion and love that Christ proven for us.

Discovering Pleasure in Selfless Giving

Believe spending time with the aged or going to a neighborhood refuge to hear their stories and cause them to really feel essential. Those tiny acts of kindness won’t appear to be a lot, however they be capable to make any person’s day higher, create relationships, and toughen a sense of group.

A better feeling of pleasure emerges after we set aside our personal issues and be aware of the wishes of others. The Bible admonishes us, “Every of you can use no matter present you’ve gotten won to serve others, as trustworthy stewards of God’s grace in its more than a few paperwork.” (NIV) 1 Peter 4:10 We specific the particular talents God has given us through serving others, and it’s in those deeds of carrier that we discover authentic pleasure.

Have an effect on Unmeasurable

Take into consideration the impact if all of us realized to experience serving to others. If we take a bit spoil from our tense schedules to lend a hand a neighbor, supply a sympathetic ear, or donate cash to a reason we reinforce. Small acts of kindness have the facility to unfold, sparking a sequence response of generosity and optimistic exchange.

In step with the NIV translation of Matthew 25:40, Jesus stated, “Actually I inform you, no matter you probably did for this sort of least of those brothers and sisters of mine, you probably did for me.” No longer simplest can we fortify the lives of other folks we serve, however we additionally perform Jesus’ command to like and deal with the ones round us.

Development Relationships and Connections

Believe the sensation of camaraderie that comes from cooperating with others to reach a shared purpose. Folks come in combination via carrier, growing ties and friendships that differently won’t have took place. It serves as a reminder that we’re all part of a broader group, and that group would possibly take pleasure in the acts we do.

Serving others permits us to peer the arena from many angles and to realize the demanding situations and victories of other folks round us. Our lives are enriched and {our relationships} are deepened through this sensitivity.

Conclusion: Discovering Contentment Via Carrier

Every people has a skill that is able to be opened: the pleasure of serving to others. It serves as a reminder that our lives are meant to be about extra than just our personal pursuits; they’re an opportunity to fortify the lives of others.

Let’s thus embody the pride of serving to others, if it is by means of deeds of kindness, volunteering, or simply being conscious about their wishes. The easy act of serving would possibly supply mild and hope in a global that every so often turns out overwhelming. As we emulate Christ and prolong ourselves in love, we no longer simplest exchange the lives of others but additionally revel in a deep feeling of success and enjoyment that overflows into our personal hearts.

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