Michael W. Smith

Michael W. Smith

is a Grammy Award-winning American singer-songwriter. He is one of the best-selling and most influential artists in Contemporary Christian Music. Smith is a three-time Grammy Award winner, and he has earned 34 Dove Awards. Over the course of his 24-year career, he has sold more than 13 million albums and he has recorded 29 number-one hit songs, fourteen gold albums, and five platinum albums.

He along with Amy Grant, were the first Christian artists that I listened to and he's still producing great music all these years later!

Hear 1 minute samples of his music here.

So Great was one of the songs written during the recent Compassionart songwriters retreat in Perthshire, Scotland. All the songwriters, publishers, managers, copyright institutes and agents involved have all waived their rights and are donating their efforts on this project to Compassionart. The songs are to be given through Compassionart to the world not just to sing, but also to raise money for the relief of suffering around the planet. One half of the money received over the songs’ lifetimes will go to the songwriters’ charity of choice, and the other 50% will go to a charitable project agreed upon by all the songwriters involved.

Michael W. Smith is joined by Israel Houghton and Christy Nockels on "So Great," the first single released from the Compassionart retreat. Listen to the song "So Great".

This is Your Time was inspired by the suggestion that Cassie Bernall, a student killed in the Columbine High School massacre, had answered "yes" to the question "Do you believe in God?" moments after seeing another student killed for answering "yes" to that same question.

Above All was the song Jim Cavaziel listened to again and again as he portrayed Jesus in The Passion.

To pass the time during the tedious filming delays, Caviezel listened to music on headphones. One song in particular, Michael W. Smith’s “Above All,” helped him get through the filming of the crucifixion scenes.

He felt “rejected and alone as all those around me laughed while drinking their hot coffees, oblivious to what was occurring. Jesus must have felt like this—forsaken, rejected, alone, and despised. The song helped me pray in a very deep way—to pray without words, to pray from the heart. The discomfort, the loneliness, the split shoulder, the raw flesh all forced me into the arms of God because I had nowhere else to go for a performance I knew I was unable to create.”

In His Image

"In His Image" by William Zdinak

Read the story behind the painting and identify some of the people depicted.

"My thoughts were a long way from spiritual ones on the day it all happened. I was very busy at the drawing board caught up in the RAT RACE we call success. A home with a custom built swimming pool, the proper Cadillac and station wagon. A lovely wife, seven great children, a live in Mother and Father-in-law, two dogs, three cats, fifteen snakes, four turtles, etc., etc. When the phone rang and the caller introduced herself, I remembered a promise I had made five months earlier, a promise to do a painting for a religious art show – a promise I had forgotten minutes after I had made it..." Read the full story here

Humility - knowing our need for God

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 5:3

As we read the Beatitudes this past Sunday, I was struck by the explanation that being poor in spirit means to "know our need for God". How often do we go on with our day and take for granted so many things that are blessings? I am mindful of the countless ways that He is caring for us, waiting on us and wanting the best for us and we are mindless of Him. I think that by living in Canada, where we are fortunate to have democracy, where we are for the most part materially very well off, we forget that we so desperately DO need God. In the busyness of our lives, we have mistaken our success for our independence from our Creator, our Saviour and our Lord.

This made me think of the following which I had found along the way:

Letter From Jesus
Dear Friend:

How are you? I just had to send a note to tell you how much I love you and care about you. I saw you yesterday as you were talking with your friends. I waited all day hoping you would want to talk with Me also. As evening drew near, I gave you a sunset to close your day and a cool breeze to rest you - and I waited. You never came. Oh yes, it hurt me - but I still love you because I am your friend. I saw you fall asleep last night and longed to touch your brow, so I spilled moonlight upon your face and pillow. Again, I waited, wanting to rush down so we could talk. I have so many gifts for you! You awakened late and rushed off to work without ever thinking of Me, and I still love you. My tears were in the rain.

Today you looked so sad - so all alone. It makes My heart ache because I understand. My friends let Me down too and hurt Me many times, but I love you. Oh, if you would only listen to Me! I LOVE YOU! I try to tell you in the blue sky and in the quiet green grass. I whisper it in the leaves on the trees and breathe it in the colors of flowers. I shout it to you in the mountain streams and give the birds love songs to sing. I clothe you with warm sunshine and perfume the air with nature scents. My love for you is deeper than the ocean and bigger than the biggest want or need that you will ever have. Oh, if you only knew how much I want to walk and talk with you. We could spend an eternity together in heaven. I know how hard it is on this earth. I really know! And I want to help you. I want you to know my father. He wants to help you too. My father is the way, you know. Just call Me - ask Me - talk with Me! Oh, please don't forget Me. I have so much to share with you! All right, I won't bother you any further. You are free to choose or reject Me. It is your decision. I have chosen you and because of this, I will wait - because I LOVE YOU!

Your Friend,


The Interactive Lord's Prayer

Our Father who art in Heaven....


Don't interrupt me. I'm praying....

But you called Me.

Called you? I didn't call you. I'm praying.
Our Father who art in Heaven....

There, you did it again....

Did what?

Called Me. You said, "Our Father who art in Heaven.."
Here I am. What's on your mind?

But I didn't mean anything by it. I was, you know, just saying my prayers for the day. I always say the Lord's Prayer. It makes me feel good, kind of like getting my duty done.

All right. Go on....

Hallowed be thy name.

Hold it. What do you mean by that?

By what?

By "Hallowed be thy name.".....

It means....it means....good grief, I don't know what it means. How should I know? It's just part of the prayer. By the way, what does it mean?

It means "Honored, Holy! Wonderful."

Hey, that makes sense. I never thought about what "Hallowed" meant before...
Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.

Do you really mean that?

Sure, why not?

What are you going to do about it?

Doing? Nothing, I guess. I just think it would be neat if you got control of everything down here like you have up there.

Have I got control of you?

Well, I go to church.

That isn't what I asked you. What about that habit of lust you have? And your bad temper? You've really got a problem there, you know. And then there's the way you spend your money ...... all on yourself. And what about the kinds of books you read?

Stop picking on me! I'm just as good as some of the rest of those phonies at the church.

Excuse me .... I thought you were praying for my will to be done. If that is to happen, it will have to start with the ones who are praying for it. Like you, for example.

Oh, all right! I guess I do have some hang-ups. Now that you mention it, I could probably name some others.

So could I.

I haven't thought about it until now, but I really would like to cut out some of those things. I'd like to, you know, be really free.

Good, now we're getting somewhere. We'll work together .... you and I. Some victories can truly be won. I'm proud of you.

Look Lord, I need to finish up here. This is taking a lot longer than it usually does....
Give us this day our daily bread.

You need to cut down on the bread too ... You're overweight as it is.

Hey, wait a minute! What is this, "Criticize Me Day?" Here I was doing my religious duty, and all of a sudden you break in and remind me of all my hangups.

Praying is a dangerous thing. You could wind up changed you know. That's what I'm trying to get across to you. You called me, and here I am. It's too late to stop now. Keep on praying. I'm interested in the next part of your prayer .................... Well, go on.

I'm scared to.

Scared? Of what?

I know what you'll say.

Try me and see.

Forgive us our offenses as we forgive those who offend us.

What about Mark?

See I knew it! I knew you would bring him up! Why, he's told lies about me, cheated me out of money .... He never paid back that debt he owes me. I've sworn to get even.

But your prayer ...... What about your prayer?

I didn't mean it.

Well, at least you're honest. But it's not much fun carrying the load of bitterness around inside is it?

No, but I'll feel better as soon as I get even. Boy, have I made some plans for ol' Mark! He'll wish he never did me any harm.

You won't feel any better. You'll feel worse. Revenge isn't sweet. Think of how unhappy you are already. But I can change all that.

You can? How?

Forgive Mark. Then I'll forgive you. Then the hate and sin will be Mark's problem and not yours... You may lose the money, but it will be settled in your heart.

But Lord, I can't forgive Mark.

Then I can't forgive you.

Oh, you're right! You always are. And more than I want revenge on Mark, I want to be right with you ............... All right! I forgive him. Help him to find the right road in life, Lord. He's bound to be awfully miserable, now that I think about it. Some day, some way, show him the right way.

There now! How do you feel?

Hmmmmmm .... not bad. Not bad at all, In fact I feel pretty great. You know, I don't think I'll have to go to bed uptight tonight for the first time since I can't remember. Maybe I won't be so tired from now on because I'm not getting enough rest.

You're not through with your prayer ..... Go on.

Oh, all right .....
Do not let us enter into temptation, but deliver us from error.

Good .... Good, I'll do that. Just don't put yourself in a place where you can be tempted.

What do you mean by that?

Quit hanging around the wrong places, watching inappropriate movies and television, listening to sinful conversations. Change some of your friendships. Some of your so-called friends are beginning to get to you. They'll have you completely involved in wrong things before long. Don't be fooled. They advertise they're having fun, but for you it would be ruin. Don't use me for an escape hatch.

I don't understand.

Sure you do, You've done it ..... lots of times. You get caught in a bad situation, you get into trouble and then you come running to me. "Lord, help me out of this mess, and I promise you I'll never do it again." You remember some of those bargains you tried to make with me?

Yes, and I'm ashamed Lord. I really am. I'm sorry Lord, I really am. Up until now I thought if I just prayed the Lord's prayer every day then I could do what I liked. I didn't expect anything to happen like it did.

Go ahead .... Finish your prayer.

Oh yes ....
For Thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory forever. Amen.

Do you know what would bring me glory? What would make me really happy?

No, but I'd like to know. I want to please you. I can see what a mess I've made of my life, and I can see how great it would be to really be one of your followers.

You just answered the question.

I did?

Yes, the one thing that would bring me glory is to have people like you truly love me. And I can see that happening between us. Now that some of these old sins are exposed and out of the way .... well, there's no telling what we can do together.

Lord, let's see what we can make of me, OK?

Yes, let's see .....

Last Lecture

Randy Pausch is a 47 year-old Professor of Computer Science, Human-Computer Interaction, and Design at Carnegie Mellon University. In September 2006, he was diagnosed with metastatic pancreatic cancer. He pursued a very aggressive cancer treatment that included major surgery and experimental chemotherapy; however in August of 2007 he was told that the cancer had metastasized to his liver and spleen. He then started palliative chemotherapy intended to extend his life as long as possible, which was then estimated to be three to six months.

Pausch delivered his "Last Public Lecture", entitled "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams", at CMU on September 18, 2007. This talk was modeled after an ongoing series of lectures where top academics are asked to think deeply about what matters to them,and then give a hypothetical "final talk", i.e.,
"What wisdom would you try to impart to the world if you knew it was your last chance?" Randy Pausch reprising his "Last Lecture"
Randy Pausch reprising his inspirational "Last Lecture" on the Oprah Show (Oct 22, 2007).
See the full-length version of this short Oprah Show reprise at www.cs.virginia.edu/robins/Randy .
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