Archives for November 2012

The Silver Bridge

On December 15, 1967 a terrible tragedy took place in our hometown of Point Pleasant, West Virginia. On that pre-Christmas day The Silver Bridge that spanned the Ohio River between Point Pleasant and the Gallipolis, Ohio area, collapsed taking the lives of 46 of our beloved family, friends and fellow citizens.

To honor those who were lost, Steve wrote and recorded the song, The Silver Bridge. Later the song was added to archived film footage to create a memorial video. In the introduction to this musical and visual tribute, Steve interviews his late father, P.J. Chapman, who shared his memories about that unforgettable day in December.

We remain prayerful for all who were, and still are, affected so greatly by the tragedy.

(Note: Only the audio of the song is available as a download. The video is not for sale and may not be copied.)

Please feel free to leave a comment about this disaster. We especially invite those from the area around Point Pleasant, WV and Gallipolis, Ohio to briefly include a comment.

The Hunter’s Heart of Mercy

“Be Ready When You Come For Me”

One day I went into a patch of woods to set up a stand and discovered a piece of paper tacked to a tree. I was surprised to discover it was a note to me that said,

 

    “Dear Mr. Chapman…I hear that you travel and sing to deer hunters. Is there any way you could take the words I’ve written below and sing them to your deer hunting friends? If you would, it sure would help me and my friends. 

    Sincerely,

   Buck

Of course there’s not an ounce of truth to the story nor the note from the deer. But maybe, just maybe, the song posted below that was written as if Mr. Buck had penned it might encourage you to practice, practice, practice with your weapon of choice. Why? Because a well-placed shot is a way for a skillful hunter to show maximum mercy to creatures that not only provide us with a great food source, they really do have nerve endings. 

 

The crown of creation its you its not me

I’m here for another reason I was born to be

A coat for your shoulders in the cold and the rain

And the life in my flesh it will feed you I know

I’m sure you will come with your arrow and bow

But don’t forget, I can feel pain

So this one thing I ask of you

This one thing I beg you to do

 

Be ready, practice, learn from the masters

So that on that morning when its me you come after

Your arrow will fly straight and true

And I will find mercy when it passes through

Like falling asleep in the midmorning sun

If your shot is certain that’s how the end will come for me

Be ready when you come for me

 

Steve Chapman/Times & Seasons Music/BMI

(Available on the CD, First Winds of Autumn)

 

Incompatibility…The Spice in Marriage

 

In the Chapman household it was a ‘silent night’ and I’m not talking about the classic Christmas song!

Earlier in the day, Eb Scrooge and Mrs. Claus had tried to have Christmas with their children.  But along with opening the gifts, we also “unwrapped” our opposing opinions about the Holiday. What could have been the most wonderful time of the year turned out to be a “bah humbug” event…again.

Huggin’ around the Christmas tree

James 4:1-3 isn’t typically used as part of the Christmas narrative. In our case, however, it was more appropriate than the Luke 2 story.  Brother James asked, “What causes fights and quarrel among you?”  He answered his own question by saying that we get angry because we don’t get our waySimply stated, anger is what happens when “my way is the only way” fails to happen.   

Gratefully, Steve and I have learned that having differing opinions is not necessarily a bad thing.  We also realize that we can disagree without being disagreeable.  In the “Christmas situation,” I wanted to overspend and overindulge our children with more gifts than they needed.  Steve, on the other hand, thought the children already had enough toys and didn’t need anything else

If I’d had my way, we would have been in debt from one January to the next.  If Steve had his way our children would have written a scathing book about him entitled, “Daddy, Dearest.”  The good news is, by compromising and learning to see the other’s opinion as valid, we learned to enjoy a wonderfully, debt-free, non-spoiled-children-Christmas with great memories.

As of this writing Steve and I have had the privilege of thirty-eight chances to celebrate Christmas together.  As the years have gone by, we have done much better at achieving “peace on earth,” or at least, “peace in Tennessee.” We finally realized that our differences are really like spice in chili. Without it, chili would be bland and lacking taste. With spice, however, chili is an exciting dish…so is marriage!

How did this accomplishment happen? We decided to embrace each other’s idea of what Christmas is supposed to be. While it wasn’t easy, nor comfortable, we’re happy to report that our decision to do so really did work. It not only helped us get along much better during the Advent Season, our relationship has grown stronger since then.

The song, Incompatibility, highlights many of the differences we have recognized in our relationship yet have chosen to embrace. Perhaps some of the items on our lyrical list might sound familiar to you. If so, you’ll know you’re not alone in the challenge to get along as a couple… even with opposing views. Remember, chili is much better with spice!

Incompatibility

Him:  I like a little mayo

Her:  Mustard is my thing

Him:  Make my bread as white as cotton

Her:  I’ll have wheat with seven grains

Her:  And a little candle glowing when we eat is what I like

Him:  I need to see what I’m consuming, so please turn on the lights

 

Her:  I go to bed before the news

Him:  I’m still awake at two A.M.

Her:  I’m up before the chickens

Him:  If I can, I’m sleeping in

Him:  I like wearing huntin’ clothes

Her:  I like huntin’ clothes to wear

Her:  I’ll always ask directions

Him:  I’ll find my own way there

 

We’ve got incompatibility everywhere we turn

But still we stay together cause there’s a lesson we have learned

That if this man and woman were in every way the same

One of us would not be needed, and wouldn’t that be a shame

 

Her:  I like a walk in the park

Him:  And I would rather run

Him:  How far can we go on empty

Her:  I’ve never seen as fun

Him:  I like talking to my buddy’s when we’re teeing off at ten

Her:  My greens and conversation are a salad bar with friends

 

Her:  My feet are like December

His:  And mine are like July

Her:  While I’m piling on the blankets

Him:  I lay there and fry

Her:  I married Ebenezer Scrooge

Him:  I married Mrs. Claus

Her:  While I’m watching Casablanca

Him:  I’d rather be watching football

 

We’ve got incompatibility everywhere we turn

But still we stay together cause there’s a lesson we have learned

That if this man and woman were in every way the same

One of us would not be needed, and wouldn’t that be a shame

 

(“Incompatibility,” lyrics by Steve and Annie Chapman, Times and Seasons Music, BMI; available on the  Love Was Spoken CD.)

 

    Would you briefly share something you and your spouse do that helps to keep    disagreements from turning into a disaster for your marriage? 

 

Feel free to use the comment spot to share a prayer request for your marriage.  Here’s a chance for you to share your need and allow others to join with you in prayer.

 

Blessings on you and yours!

Annie Chapman

 

Celebrating A Life Well Lived

A Life Well Lived

Not long ago I went to the funeral of my dear friend, Sharon. I watched as family and close friends gathered around their loved one to say their final goodbyes. They talked about what a fun person she was to be around, how she was quick to help those in need, and that her home was always open and inviting to those in the neighborhood.  Several folks told funny stories about the life we had gathered to celebrate.

I have to admit, as I chuckled at the delightful tales that were told I also silently dealt with the sobering and rather disconcerting realization. A contemporary had finished her race sooner than I thought was fair.  In my estimation, Sharon was still young and beautiful despite the last couple of years of battling a disease that had turned her body against her.    As I watched her life play in pictures on the video screen in the sanctuary I was struck by how quickly she went from early childhood to her latter days of illness.

Sharon had finished her race, she kept the faith and left a legacy of love and grace.  As I struggled with saying farewell to my friend a lyric came to my mind that Steve wrote several years ago based on a portion of Psalm 90.

“As for the days of our life… soon it is gone and we fly away.” (v 10)

I was comforted by knowing that Sharon had reached her destination safely. If you have said goodbye to a loved one perhaps this song will offer solace to you as well.

 

Listen to the audio: We Will Fly

We Will Fly      (From the CD, “Love Was Spoken”)

 

Resting beneath the ground

Waiting to hear the sound

That the trumpet will make

Then we’ll awake and arise

 

And together we’ll meet Him in the air

And the Savior of us all will be there

And every sorrow we have known

In that moment will be gone and we will fly

We will fly

 

We will fly away, we will fly away

I’m longing for that day, when we fly, fly away

 

And among those who rest in quiet sleep

Are the faces of ones so dear to me

There’s comfort in this truth I know

The grave will let them go and we will fly

We will fly away

 

(Steve Chapman/Times & Seasons Music/BMI)

 

Hug In and Hold On!


Most of us have heard the biblical promise found in James 4 that says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Did you ever wonder why that promise is so important? The following lesson I learned while growing up on a dairy farm in West Virginia might help answer that question.

We milked cows each morning and evening, and these beasts had powerful hind legs that could do some significant physical harm if they connected with a knee cap or a jawbone.  Some of the cows were docile and easy to manage.  They were a pleasure to work with for one reason; they did not try to kick at the person who was milking them.  However, there were two kinds of cows that made life miserable for this milk maid.

When a cow had “dropped” her calf (given birth, for you city folk) her udder would soon become tender and swollen with the excess milk.  Any woman who has ever nursed a baby knows how uncomfortable the breast can become shortly after delivering.

Those poor old cows with the tender teats would then have to have automatic milking machines attached to them.  Often the udders would become infected with mastitis, causing painfully infected milk ducts.  If we did not empty out the udders and relieve the pressure they could actually split open and the cow would be lost.  Despite the pain, those poor old mamas had to be milked.

The other kind of cow I dreaded being around was the young heifers that were nervous and unfamiliar with the milking process.

 

It’s safer to get closer

Whenever I would attempt to milk either of these cows I was taking a risk.  Oddly enough, I found that if I stayed back from them because I feared being kicked, the chances of being injured actually increased.  So, I would take a deep breath, move in closer and literally wrap my arm around their middle section and hug in tightly. As crazy as it might sound, staying close was the safest place for me to be.

My “hug in and hold on” approach to milking cows contains an important picture that has helped me through the years and it might be meaningful to you. The wild flying legs of a cantankerous cow is like the troubles that life can throw at us. The big body is like our loving Heavenly Father. Hugging in and holding on to Him is the safest place to be.

Psalm 91:14-16 is a great reminder of the comfort His presence provides in a world that is full of harmful hooves.

“Because he loves me,” says the Lord, “I will rescue him; I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name.  He will call upon me, and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble, I will deliver him and honor him, with long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.”

     Is life kicking at you at this very moment? Do you feel unsafe and vulnerable?  If so, now is the time to “hug in and hold on” to God.

Annie and Heidi

09 Nearer My God To Thee_Heidi Chapman Beall_Hymns From God’s Great Cathedral

 

Nearer My God to Thee

(From, “Hymns From God’s Great Cathedral”/Vocalist: Heidi Chapman Beall)

 

Nearer my God to Thee, nearer to Thee

E’en though it be a cross that raiseth me

Still all my soul shall be nearer my God to Thee

Nearer my God to Thee, nearer to Thee

 

Tho’ like the wonderer be, the sun goes down

Darkness be over me, my rest a stone

Yet in my dreams I’ll be, nearer my God to Thee

Nearer my God to Thee, nearer to Thee

 

There let my way appear steps up to Heav’n

All that Thou sendest me in mercy giv’n

Angels to beckon, nearer my God to Thee

Nearer my God to Thee, nearer to Thee

 

Words and Music:  Sarah F. Adams; Lowell Mason (PD)

 

The Ring Story

We recently did an event for married couples and included our “ring story” along with the song “Not the Ring.” Someone requested that we feature this post again…thanks for asking!!!


From Green to Gold

       It is amazing to us how much emphasis is put these days on wedding rings. If we had a dollar for every commercial about them that we hear everyday on our favorite radio station, we’d have enough money to buy a flashy set… plus a new house, a boat, and a BMW. But, the truth is, we don’t need new rings for two good reasons.

One, our premarital poverty in 1975 helped us figure out that true love is not measured by the size and cost of an engagement or wedding ring. Its measured by something far more important… commitment. The fact is, we got married with neither band. Though there was no precious metal to exchange during our springtime wedding ceremony, we did exchange some extremely valuable vows. It wouldn’t be until later in the summer of that year that we would be able to get wedding rings.

While we were at the Tennessee State Fair, we came across a glass encased display of “golden” wedding bands. The set put us back…$4.
That’s right…our wedding rings cost $2 a piece. We proudly put on our rings and went home.

A few days later we discovered something that was both humorous and sad. The skin around our newly acquired symbols of love had turned our fingers a dull green. We considered throwing them away but couldn’t afford an upgraded set. So, we kept cleaning our ring fingers and continued wearing the cheap bands. Little did we know we would be rewarded for our frugal decision.

One day Steve had a dental emergency that couldn’t be ignored. While we were at Dr. Underwood’s office he noticed the discoloration of the skin around our rings. Evidently, feeling pity for us he asked if he could borrow our bands for a few days so he could “clean” them. We had no idea what he meant by “clean” them but we removed our rings and left them in his care.

True to his word, a few days later at church he gave our rings back to us. We smiled as we saw how completely different they looked. Polished dental gold covered the cheap metal that had left the greenish stains. Dr. Underwood had transformed our $2 bands into priceless treasures that we wear to this day.

Our “green to gold” memory remains one of our favorites in our nearly 40 years. If you had a similar start in your marriage, its likely that you too can testify that a big pricey ring is not a prequisite for an enduring love. Maybe like us, you waited until the purchase of a nice set of bands didn’t bust your bank. We waited 25 years for that moment. But we still wear our “dental gold rings” pictured below.

If you’re heading toward an engagement, maybe our story will help you focus on what’s really valuable. Or, perhaps the story in the song featured with this post will help you remember where the real treasure is in your relationship.

 

Not the Ring

The Dollar Store took over, the Murphy’s five and dime

But Bobby’s wage was not affected by the changing of the times

So he gave up his old Malibu, he got three fifty dollar bills

Then he walked downtown to buy the ring that would show the love he feels

 

The change was seven dollars and he headed to the door

And he rehearsed the words he’d say to her when his knee was on the floor

But some girls have expectations they have diamonds in their eyes

Sometimes they measure love by the rule of cost and size

 

They can’t see that…

Diamonds can be stolen, silver can be broken

The treasure that’s worth more than anything is in the promise

Not the ring

 

When she looked into the little white box that was shaking in his hand

She laughed as if she’d heard a joke she didn’t understand

Well, Bobby drives that old Malibu again, took four fifty dollar bills

And there’s a girl who’ll never know the wealth in the love that Bobby feels

 

Diamonds can be stolen, silver can be broken

The treasure that’s worth more than anything is in the promise

Not the ring

 

(Words and Music; Steve Chapman/Times & Seasons Music/BMI

From the CD by S&A Chapman, “The Miles“)

 

Follow The Blood

In these final days of our deer season here in Tennessee, I once again encountered the inspiring insight noted in this post. For that reason I thought I’d highlight it again…

 Follow The Blood

“…knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things

like silver or gold…but with the precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished

and spotless, the blood of Christ.”  (1 Peter 1:18,19)

 

Without exception, the most emotionally charged moment for me as a deer hunter is not when the animal is spotted or walks into the range of my bow or gun, and not when I take the shot…it’s when I find the first drop of blood on the ground.

At the first sighting of the red proof that my shot connected I can feel my eyes widen, my pulse rate climb, and my breathing is noticeably quickened. And…as I slowly move along and find another drop, the words I whisper cannot be contained.

“Oh…right there…and…there….ah…here…more…there…!”

        Finding and following a blood trail is an exciting thing indeed, but not just because it means there’s a hard earned deer waiting to be recovered. In the tracking process is a very compelling illustration of the only hope any of us have in this life for being reconciled to God. That hope is explained in the following song.


Follow The Blood

I watched the arrow as it flew

From the shelf upon my bow

I was sure its flight was true

When I saw the red stains in the snow

So I….

Follow the blood

That crimson sign

Follow that trail

I know I’ll find

Death that gives life

A gift from above

Sadness and joy

Follow the blood

I saw the drops of sorrow on the ground

Then at once it came to me

The hope of all mankind is found

On the way to Calvary

So I…

Follow the blood

That crimson sign

Follow that trail

I know I’ll find

 Death that gives life

A Gift from above

Sadness and joy

Follow the blood

Steve Chapman/Times & Seasons Music/BMI/2007

(From the CD, First Winds of Autumn)

Who’s Sitting In That Highchair?

Nathan in the highchair 1978

For about five years the sweetest family lived next door to us.  Kathy and Chuck had four little children at the time.  The Bentley’s took their job of parenting very seriously.  Kathy home schooled the children, ground her own wheat to make fresh bread each week and she created the best tasting homemade granola ever.

On occasion, after they put their children to bed, our friends would invite Steve and me over.  I guess they longed to talk to someone eye level.  One night, as we were enjoying each other’s company and drinking some delicious French press coffee, Kathy began to talk about her day.  She confided that throughout the day she had cried out to God to help her do the very important job of parenting.

She said, “As I was praying, I thought of one of my favorite passages that encourages me as a parent.  You know the one that says, ‘Chain up a child when they are young.’”  Steve, Chuck and I looked at each other and began to laugh.  Then Kathy realized her mistake and joined in the laughter.

Raising children is not for the faint of heart.  I would contend that there’s probably not a harder job on the face of the earth.  As parents we are actually architects building little temples where Jesus wants to live.

Of all the songs we have sung through the years, perhaps one of the most important is the song, “The Highchair.”

Heidi 1980

 

 

 

If we can look past the dirty faces, the sticky fingers, the spilt milk and the messy diapers we will be able to see the building blocks God wants to use to change the world.

 

 

Listen to the audio: The Highchair

 

 

 

The Highchair

 

Who is that little fellow with ketchup on his nose

Spaghetti in his hair and that Kodak pose

Who’s sitting in that highchair keeping rhythm with a spoon

He’s got your full attention and you’re crazy as a loon

 

He might the doctor that finally finds a cure

Or the one who brings the schools back into prayer

He may be there with you when you’re old and all alone

You don’t know, who’s sitting in that highchair

 

The latest "little lady"  Sylvia Grace Beall

The latest “little lady”
Sylvia Grace Beall

Who is that little lady as precious as a lamb

Painting like an artist with that pudding in her hand

Who’s sitting in that highchair with her supper on the floor

She’s got you saying things like, “I can’t take it anymore!”

 

She might be the first lady to fly beyond the moon

Or the one who changes history with her prayers

She may be there with you when you’re old and all alone

 

You don’t know who’s sitting in that highchair

 

Step back and take a look

Take a picture of that moment in your mind

That dirty face in heaven’s book

Is where the future treasures always go to hide

 

Steve Chapman/Times & Seasons Music/BMI

The Distraction of Action

For a great tip on how to be a better dad, watch this video that features a song called, “First One,” performed at a wild game dinner event in Ohio.

The song, “First One,” is from the CD titled, “Finish Well.”

 

Reachable

     I’m living proof that the prayers of a mother and/or father that are offered for their spiritually wayward child can be effective.

Steve with parents, P.J. & Lillian

In 1970 I left home as a straight-laced preacher’s kid and went into the Navy. Within a month or two of being away from the environment of the Christian home where I was raised, I began to dabble in the “pleasures of sin.” Slowly I drifted away from the safe harbor of a relationship with Christ and the light that was fading in my eyes did not go unnoticed by my parents. Each time I would return to my hometown to visit they could see that I had drifted a little further from the way they had raised me.

Their hearts were broken by my waywardness, but in no way did they allow the situation to overwhelm them and drive them to silent despair. Instead, the intensity of their pleading to the Lord to guide me back to fellowship with Him grew stronger with each passing day.

I am grateful to report that God heard their prayers. In 1974 I turned my heart toward my eternal home, got things right with God and have walked in His redemption since then.

I wrote the following song called, “Reachable,” to encourage other parents who might have a child who is a prodigal to not give up praying for them. God knows exactly where they are and how to speak to their hearts. 

 

Listen to the song: Reachable

 

Reachable

There’s a boy, in his mother’s prayers

Cause lately she’s been aware

That he’s been drifting, too far from the shore

And she’s beginning to believe, the boy is getting out of reach

Weary mother, don’t you worry anymore

 

Cause the boy is reachable, Oh he’s reachable

And to God he’s visible, and all things are possible

Cause if the Lord can reach His hand of love through time

And touch a cold, sinners’ heart like mine

The boy is reachable, oh he’s reachable

 

There’s a girl on her father’s heart

Cause lately they’ve drifted apart

And the company she’s keeping leads her further away

And he’s beginning to believe, the girl is getting out of reach

Weary father, hold on, heaven hears you when you pray

 

Cause the girl is reachable, oh, she’s reachable

And to God she’s visible and all things are possible

Cause if they Lord can reach his hand of love through time

And touch a cold, sinner’s heart like mine

She’s reachable, oh, she’s reachable

 

Steve Chapman/Times & Seasons Music/BMI

From the CD: “Family Favorites”