Lufkin, Texas Concert Transcript

Carpenter's Way Christian Church

July 19, 1997

Information on ordering your own copy of the Lufkin, Texas Concert Video

Well, I'm gonna start my part out with a hymn on account of how people don't sing 'em no more.

[Nothing But the Blood of Jesus]

"Nothing but the Blood of Jesus" video clip (2.3 MB)

[Awesome God]

Thank you very much, I hope you like this song too!

[intro for Brother's Keeper...]

(Rich's guitar is out of tune with the rest of the band, so Mitch comes over and adjusts his capo)

I hope I can play it better...

[...Brother's Keeper]

Rich playing guitar out of tune video clip (1.4 MB)

Thank you very much. Well, this is a song that we wrote about... we were wrestling with the idea of the incarnation. Doesn't that sound heavy and theological? And thinking about, you know, the apostles especially, being good monotheists, what it must have been like for them to meet Jesus and have Him say that He was God and how that must have weirded them out. Because it kinda weirds me out - that someone could be fully God and fully human, but that's I guess the way it is. Not only is it weird that God should also be a man, but thinking about God being a boy was even weirder. Just imagine if He ever played baseball, you know. Like if Jesus was God and if God is all-powerful, if He was gonna play baseball, just how many windows do you think He might've knocked out around Nazareth? And who was gonna make Him pay?

[Boy Like Me/Man Like You]

(Rich messes up the whistling part badly)

"Sorry, I won't even try that again."

"...stories like that make a man walk straight..."

You ever seen one of these before? This is a lap dulcimer.

"I really may just grow up, and be like You..."

It was invented by Irish immigrants over here in this country in the coal mining area called Appalachia. Just thought I'd share that with ya.

"...some day."

[Lap Dulcimer Instrumental]

Lap dulcimer instrumental video clip (2.2 MB)

Well, that was a song I wrote for my dad, he was Appalachian. This is a song I wrote for a little girl who wasn't supposed to get born, 'cause the doctor said she would never survive the birth. She was born and a couple days later, he said, "Well, she won't survive the week." She survived the week, and a month later, he said, "She won't live a year." And now after about sixteen months, she weighs twelve pounds finally. I think Madeline prays for us all.

Madeline video clip (2.1 MB)


[78 Eatonwood Green]

"78 Eatonwood Green" video clip (1.6 MB)

[Calling Out Your Name]

[Such a Thing as Glory]


Well, this is a song that I did not write, and I wish I would've, but Dougie MacLean got to it first. Which is what I think writing is about. I think it's about fishing. I think you just have to sit on the water with your bait in there long enough and maybe something will bite.

He's a Scottish... are you all familiar with Dougie MacLean? Anybody a fan of his? He's a great writer and a very important Scottish folk artist. And being Scottish, he's almost Irish. They just didn't get far enough west, I guess.

I loved the song when I first learned in it Cincinnati. I learned it from a band called the Willoughby Wilson Band. But after I went to Ireland, I loved it even more because this is a song about the sea. I don't know if you've ever seen the west of Ireland and the North Atlantic - it's a very stormy, tumultuous sea, very wind-tossed and romantic and scary. Romance is about as scary a thing as there is, I guess.

And the Irish have always sort of traditionally been afraid of going out to sea. Partly because of the North Atlantic and partly because they've traditionally been very bad at building boats. But the soil in the west of Ireland isn't sufficient to sustain them, so they had to go out. So the men would go out, and their wives and mothers would wait for them to come back. Often times by the time their bodies washed back up on the shore, they would be so disfigured that they couldn't tell one husband from the other. Which is a problem I think a lot of Irish women have even if their husbands are alive.

You know, people go to Ireland, and they come back and they have those really beautiful, big sweaters, real big, bulky, and they've got all kinds of stitches and stuff in them. Well, they started doing that because each of those different stitches are different charms and prayers and stuff that they would weave into their husbands' sweaters. If it worked, then their husbands would come back alive, and if it didn't, because fish don't eat wool, they could tell who was who by what sweater was on them.

I just think that's a charming story.

[Ready for the Storm]


Thank you very much. That comes from one of the most confusing psalms of the Bible, I think. The Bible's okay until you start reading the psalms and then it really wigs out. All that vengeance and stuff. Of course that's the part I especially like. I know "Vengeance is mine, thus saith the Lord," but I just want to be about the Lord's business.


But anyway, that's the psalm... the psalm starts... I think it's 138, or 137, something like that, you can look it up. It's starts out: "By the waters of Babylon we lay down and wept and we remembered thee Zion for our captors required of us songs, saying, 'Sing us one of the songs of Zion.' But how can we sing the Lord's song in a foreign land?" Which is a good question because what land have we ever been in that wasn't foreign?

It starts out so beautifully and then at the end of that psalm, the last verse of that psalm is, "How very blessed is the man who dashes their little ones' heads against the rocks." This is not the sort of scripture you read at a pro-life meeting. But it's in there nonetheless.

Which is the thing about the Bible... that's why it always cracks me up when people say, "Well, in 'du du du du du du du duh, it says..." You kinda go, "Wow! It says a lot of things in there!" Proof-texting is a very, very dangerous thing. I think if we were given the Scriptures, it was not so that we could prove that we were right about everything. If we were given the Scriptures, it was to humble us into realizing that God is right, and the rest of us are just guessing.


Which is what makes them so much fun to read, especially if you're not a fundamentalist.

(Rich laughs to himself, one lady laughs in the audience, a few others join her)

"The rest of us are just guessing" video clip (0.9 MB)

I've been traveling around now for about fifteen or twenty years. Do I look like it? Everyone always says, "You look so tired - can we pray for you?" I'm like, "Man, if I didn't look tired, you should pray for me. I would've had to have made a deal with the devil to not look tired. I deserve to look this way."

I abused myself as much as possible in the last twenty years. Which is fine with me. 'Cause I figure, sooner or later, life's gonna kill us all - you may as well go out doing something you love to do. Or eating something that you like to eat, like cholesterol.


I've been in Christian music for I don't know how long. I grew up in the church, you know. It's hard to be in the church and not be involved in Christian music. In fact, I think the best Christian music is the music of the church. I think that's what Christian music is really about.

And the rest of it, it's so funny being a Christian musician. It always scares me when I talk to you guys and you guys think so highly of Christian music, contemporary Christian music especially. Because I kinda go, I know a lot of us, and we don't know jack about anything. Not that I don't want you to buy our records and come to our concerts. I sure do. But you should come for entertainment. If you really want spiritual nourishment, you should go to church.


Those people care about you, and you don't have to buy a ticket. If you really want spiritual nourishment, you should read the Scriptures. It'll confuse you to death practically, but you're gonna die anyway, so why not go out doing something good?


"If you really want spiritual nourishment, you should go to church" video clip (1.1 MB)

That's one of the things I love about being single. Everybody always goes, "Ooh, you're single, what a tragedy." And I'm kinda like, well, yeah, from about 10 till 2 it is a tragedy. But that time is a tragedy for most married people as well. One of the great advantages of being single is you can still pick up hitchhikers. If you're married, you don't wanna get slit or anything, 'cuz you've got a family to support. If you're single and you die, it doesn't really matter, so you're free to do anything you want to do. I love that.

If you really want spiritual nourishment, read your Bible, go to church. And the other thing is, Jesus said that, "My bread is to do the will of my Father."

And I'm all the time being asked by people, "How do you feel closer to God?" And I kinda always want to say, "I don't know." When I read the lives of most of the great saints, they didn't necessarily feel very close to God. When I read the Psalms, I get the feeling like David and the other psalmists felt very far from God for most of the time. Closeness to God is not about feelings. Closeness to God is about obedience. It's just as simple as that.

And here's a little Bible verse that I've come to love more over the years. Jesus said, "Whatever you do to the least of these my brethren, you've done it unto me." Jesus seemed to have a particular place in his heart for the oppressed. I think maybe because he was Jewish.

Karl Barth was once asked, why do you believe in God. He said, "Because of Jews." They said, "What do you mean, because of Jews?" He said, "Well, find me a Hittite in New York City."

(One guy in the audience laughs, some others laugh with him)

I'm so glad that some of you got that.

(The rest of the audience laughs)

God looked down on Abraham and for reasons that we have no idea why, he said, "I'm going to bless you and your progeny and forever you will prosper," and it still goes. People have tried to wipe out the Hebrews for years and years, and they just can't do it.

I wonder if one of the reasons He liked Abraham was because Sarai was barren, and Abraham was this close to extinction when God called him. Because God seems to have a very special place in His heart for the small and for the weak and for the oppressed and the poor of the world.

I don't know how you feel close to God. And no one I know that seems to be close to God knows anything about those feelings either. I know if we obey, occasionally, the feeling follows. Not always, but occasionally. I know if we disobey, we don't have a shot at it.

Jesus said, "Whatever you do to the least of these my brothers, you've done it to me." And this is what I've come to think. That if I want to identify fully with Jesus Christ, who I claim to be my Savior and Lord, the best way that I can do that is to identify with the poor. This I know will go against the teachings of all the popular evangelical preachers, but they're just wrong. They're not bad, they're just wrong.


Christianity is not about building an absolutely secure little niche in the world where you can live with your perfect little wife and your perfect little children in your beautiful little house where you have no gays or minority groups anywhere near you.


Christianity is about learning to love like Jesus loved and Jesus loved the poor and Jesus loved the broken.

Now this is a song we're gonna do in an old, traditional church kinda way, because church music goes way, way back and we have a great and rich heritage of music in the church. We're gonna line this one out. And the way we do it is I will sing a line of the song to you and then you will sing it up to God, okay? This is a prayer that would be typical of a prayer you might learn on a reservation.

[I See You]

This fall besides doing an album with Mitch, we're gonna do another Ragamuffin album, and this one is just gonna be ten songs about Jesus. And this is one of them.

[You Did Not Have a Home]


[I Will Sing]

[Sing Your Praise to the Lord]

"Sing Your Praise to the Lord" introduction video clip (2.1 MB)

Well, this is a song I wrote in Amsterdam because everything is legal in Amsterdam.


And I always thought my folks just didn't sin 'cause they were too old for it. I was old enough to not sin over there (tuning his guitar and pausing as he speaks), and uh, I found that it was still very tempting. And I, uh, several years ago I used to travel by myself. I traveled by myself for several years. I had a lot of struggles at the time because it's just so hard not to watch those movies in those hotel rooms when you're by yourself - when you're alone (sheepish smile). And I was talking to a spiritual director...

[Distracted by monitor noise, Rich asks the sound crew, "Can you please turn this away from me?"]

...a spiritual director of mine, and he said, "Well, it's not that you're so bad. It's just that you're not supposed to go out by yourself." So I started traveling with other people, and when we were in Amsterdam I was with Beaker. I don't know if you remember Beaker or not.


So I was there in the hotel room, hoping he would start snoring so I could be sure he was asleep 'cause I thought maybe I could just, maybe it'd just be fun to be tempted. 'Cause sometimes, even if you're not gonna sin, it's nice to be tempted. (laughter) And uh, he never did snore that night, and by about five in the morning I was pretty worn out. And uh, that's when I wrote this prayer, and if you want to pray it with me you can.

[Hold Me Jesus]

[While the Nations Rage]

Well, I wrote that song for the village, but I wrote this one for the sky.

[If I Stand]

[Screen Door (Performed by Rich Mullins, Mark Robertson, Cobra Joe, Mitch McVicker and Eric Hauck)]

"Screen Door" video clip (3.8 MB)

Thank you so much. Well, here's a song that - A while ago Beaker, Mitch and I wrote a musical called Canticle of the Plains, and it's based on the life of Francis of Assisi, which of course, I think we wrote the musical just 'cause we like the title - and the title makes no sense in terms of Francis of Assisi. But he's still kind of a hero of ours, and so we decided what to do was to change him from being a 12th century Italian saint into a 19th century American cowboy. So we basically follow the life of St. Francis of Assisi, but we just set it in the American West as opposed to medieval Italy. And we're gonna do a couple of songs from that. We don't actually have it for sale right now because fortunately it's sold out. (applause) This is a song that Frank sings. Oh, we also changed his name from Francis to Frank on account of how Frank doesn't sound very cowboy-ish. But this is a song he sings at the end of the first act - when he realizes that to say 'yes' to God means that you necessarily have to say 'no' to everything else. So, it's sort of a commitment song.

[Heaven is Waiting (Sung by Mitch McVicker)]


Bear in mind, children, that they listen to you because you are kids - not because you are right. That's how our Father listens to us. One time one of those evangelical shows wanted to have me on as a guest - TV show, you know? They wanted to check me out first because they'd heard bad things.


So they called me up and they said, "Well, how'd you become a Christian?" Or no, they said, "How old were you when you became a Christian?" I said, "Boy, I [takes a deep breath and exhales shaking his head indicating he's unsure of an exact moment], I don't know." They said, "Well, give it a shot." And I said, "I don't know, probably two or three." They said, "So young! What happened?" And I said, "Well, I was in Sunday School and we prayed [Rich sings] 'Into my heart, into my heart, Come into my heart, Lord Jesus. Come in today. Come in to stay. Come into my heart, Lord Jesus.'"

And the lady said, "Well, that's not what I meant." She said, "You couldn't have possibly been old enough to have understood what you were praying." And I said, "Lady, we never understand what we're praying (laughter), and God, in His mercy, does not answer our prayers according to our understanding, but according to His wisdom." She said, "No, what I mean was, when did you knowingly accept Christ?" And I said, "Oh, that must have been about the third grade." She said, "So young! What happened?" (laughter) I said, "I said a bad word - a really bad one. I said the word you weren't allowed to say in front of my mom. So I knew I had sinned and that I would - had separated myself from God, so I was baptized."

And she said, "Well, I don't care when you were baptized. I want to know when you became a Christian." I said, "Lady, when I was baptized my sins were taken away and I was given the Holy Spirit. That's an awful lot like becoming a Christian to me."


Then she said, "What I really want to know is when you were born again."


I said, "Lady, which time?!"

"When did you become a Christian?" video clip (2.5 MB)

Used to be I'd only get born again about every year - once a year. That was when I was goin' to camp. You know, every year you'd go and you'd get 'born again' again.


You'd go up there and you pray and cry and feel like a fool. Yes, it's embarrassing to be born again, but imagine how embarrassing it must have been to be born the first time.

(laughter and cheers)

At least this time you get to wear clothes!

(more laughter and cheering)

But, those of you that are young enough to go to camp and re-dedicate your life every year you keep doin' it, 'cause about the time you get to college you're gonna learn that you have to re-dedicate your life about every six months. And then you'll graduate from college and it will become a quarterly thing. By the time you're in your 40's and 50's you'll do it about four times a day.

(laughter, applause, cheering)

And you will never understand what you're doin'. But God will.

I asked my dad one time, "How did you know you were ready to get married?" And he said, "Oh, I didn't." He said, "In fact, the only reason I got married was because I wasn't ready. If I had known what I was in for I would have run screaming from the room."


And I said, "So, are you sorry?" And he said, "No, I'm not sorry at all." He said, "I did not understand what I meant when I said 'I do', but I'm so glad I said it. I had no idea that my wife was going to live this long - or what a glorious life she would give me."

And folks, sometimes we think that we're saved because of how good we are, or because of how smart we are, or how clever we are, or how much we give. All those things are in a sense salvific. God does save us through our own work. If you don't believe me, then become a Lutheran and cut James out of your Bible. But, we're mostly saved, not because of what we do, but because of what Christ did. Had Jesus not died, all the water in the world wouldn't wash away your sins. Had Jesus not taken away our sins, all the prayers in the world that we could pray would never reach heaven. Had Jesus not come down as God and become flesh, there is no way that you and I could become holy.

I had a prof one time - my favorite prof in the whole world - This is one of my favorite bible college stories. He said, "Class, you will forget almost everything I will teach you in here, so please remember this: that God spoke to Balaam through his ass, and He has been speaking through asses ever since.


So, if God should choose to speak through you, you need not think too highly of yourself.

(more laughter)

And, if on meeting someone, right away you recognize what they are, listen to them anyway because God spoke to Balaam through his ass, and has been speaking through them ever since."

We are not saved because we're good. We're good because we're saved. Never forget what Jesus did for you. Never take lightly what it cost Him. And never assume that if it cost Him His very life, that it won't cost you yours. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to go to heaven. Why? Because God has a really big house, but He's gonna have a lot of guests and He doesn't want all that luggage to deal with. If we could lay down our stuff and let God love us, I think we'd pretty nearly be in heaven. And I hope you're there. That's where God wants you to be. And maybe you didn't know that. I think a lot of us think that God is looking for ways to keep us out of His kingdom. Well, if that were the case, then Jesus would be absurd. But, if Jesus Christ is Who the Scriptures teach us that He is, then God wants us to be saved; we know that God wants us to be with Him. This song will sound better if you sing it than if I have to sing it by myself. It goes...

[Sometimes By Step]


You guys are probably great singers, so I want these guys to hear you do...

[Rich begins singing It Is Well: "When peace like a river attendeth my soul..."]

"It Is Well" video clip (5.4 MB)

[It Is Well - Rich enjoys listening to the audience sing. He shakes his head at the end of the song.]

You sound great. That, folks, is what Christian music is really about, okay? So don't forget about it - the congregational singing. I hope you sing a lot. It is the most reiterated command in the whole Bible - not the funnest command, but the most reiterated one. The funnest one, I think, is the first one - be fruitful and multiply. Most people I know have trouble not keeping that one.

(laughter and cheering)

The commands of the Lord are not burdensome.

(laughter again)

So go out and live real good and I promise you'll get beat up real bad. But, in a little while after you're dead, you'll be rotted away anyway. It's not gonna matter if you have a few scars. It will matter if you didn't live. And when you wash up on that other shore, even though you've been disfigured beyond any recognition, the angels are gonna see you there and they'll go, "What is that? We're not even sure if it's human." But Jesus will say, "No, that's human. I know that one." And they'll say, "Jesus, how do you know that one?" And he'll say, "Well, you see that sweater he's got one?"


Do you know this song?

[I'm Gonna Sing, Sing, Sing]

[Swing Low, Sweet Chariot]

Here's another one.

[When the Saints Go Marching In]

All right now, I'm gonna divide you into three groups here. So all you people over here on this side of me, you're gonna be Group A. You got it, Group A? (cheering) You people right to about here, you're gonna be Group B. (cheering) Y'all way down there, you're gonna be the leftovers. (cheering) Now Group A, you're gonna sing a little solo. You're gonna sing it with Eric, and the rest of us are gonna listen. Ready? Here we go. One, two, three.

[Eric leads Group A in I'm Gonna Sing Sing Sing.]

Now, you keep singing that. Group B, you're gonna sing with Mitch. You're gonna sing

[Mitch leads his group in Swing Low, Sweet Chariot.]

Now, you all keep singing that. Leftovers, you ready? Here we go.

[Rich leads the leftovers in When the Saints Go Marching In.]

Everyone on your part.


[Rich starts Doxology and exits the stage. The audience takes over, finishes the song and the lights fade out.]

For more information contact: The Legacy Of A Kid Brother Of St. Frank, P.O. Box 11526, Wichita, Kansas, 67202, (316) 612-4649,,

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