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Helping to Strengthen the Heart of an Artist ­ The Larry Norman Medical Benefit
Larry Norman Medical Benefit
By Alan Harvey
Those of us who love Christian music usually do so because we love Christ. Of course there is evangelical music, which is used to reach people for Jesus, but effective evangelism turns people into Christians who love Christian music because they love Christ. The songs we love are the songs that touch our hearts, that strengthen us and make us feel closer to Jesus. It doesn't matter if the tunes are classic hymns or Rapcore, each individual is welcome to his or her own tastes and opinions, but we agree that it is the music that touches our hearts that we love the best.
Where would we be without Christian music? Our day to day walk is often a struggle and the very forces of hell are arrayed against us. We are all encouraged to read our bibles and pray so we can become stronger and avoid being waylaid by the cares of this world, but you can't always read (quite dangerous to do while driving your car, for example), and what motivates us to pray? Putting in a CD that gets the feet tapping and the heart pumping is often the very thing that brings us back to a place where God is real in our hearts and the daily grind has lost its power to depress us. We get energy and strength because artists invest time, hard work, money and their hearts into creating and recording the music that might serve as a lifeline to us in our time of need. In so doing these artists are working off a debt that they owe, which they will never be able to repay (see Romans 13:8). This continuing debt of love is something we all owe. Every so often an opportunity to make an installment on that debt presents itself. We who love Christian music are being presented with an opportunity like that.
This opportunity is literally about the heart of an artist. Most of us who have been involved with Christian music for a while ("a while" being defined as a decade or two) are familiar with who Larry Norman is. He is often called the father of Christian Rock. All of us who use contemporary styles of music to present the Truth of Jesus and to encourage the flock are following a path that he trailblazed. He released some of the first albums that used current (now it's classic rock) styles of music to lift up the name of Jesus. He is the author of the song, "Why Should the Devil have all the Good Music?" that is considered to be the anthem of the Jesus Music movement. During his very active career he helped to launch the careers of many others, such as Phil Keaggy, Keith Green, Randy Stonehill and Rich Mullins. He poured out his heart through trials and successes, and is still determined to do whatever he can to contribute to the world of Christian music, if his heart holds up. And this is where we get our chance to help.
A few years back (for more exact details check, Norman developed serious heart trouble. There were heart attacks, arrhythmias, and multiple other complications. Unfortunately, his insurance was very restrictive about the level of care they would provide and it fell far short of Norman's need. He had a pacemaker/defibrillator put in and the 3 year battery was used up in 1 year’s time. He lost weight to the point of emaciation and has no strength to travel or even drive his children to school. His insurance wouldn't even pay for a cardiologist! In order to answer this serious need, some loving folks around him have established a trust fund to deal with the medical needs that the insurance won't cover. If you choose, you can go to his website and make a direct donation to the Larry Norman Medical Trust. Or you can join us on May 15th at the Warehouse Church in Aurora, Illinois where there will be a benefit concert to raise money for Norman's medical fund.
This benefit was initiated by the Blud Bros. It is the second in a series and is a challenge to the folks in the Chicago area to help with a cause that has its roots deep in Christian music. The first benefit was held in Wilmington, Ohio and raised close to $2,000. The Phantom Tollbooth and The Warehouse Church have come on board as sponsors of this second event.
So far, 14 artists and groups have volunteered to participate in this event. Some names you might recognize are Rex Carroll (from Whitecross), Lisa Weyerhauser, John J Thompson of the Wayside, the Blud Bros, Marianne Kesler and the Brent Petersen Band. The music will cover a huge range of styles, and artists will play on two stages at the Warehouse Church; the Foundation Coffeehouse (downstairs) and the Warehouse sanctuary (upstairs), It starts at noon on Saturday, May 15, 2004 and continues into the night ending with an afterglow praise and worship service. The suggested donation will be $10 at the door for the whole event, however, no one who comes (with or without money) will be turned away, and all who wish to donate more will be a considered a blessing. ALL proceeds will be given to the Larry Norman Medical Trust. All artists are donating their time and traveling expenses. The Warehouse Church is located at 308 E Galena Blvd in Aurora, Illinois. If you wish to help us distribute flyers or to help us publicize the event go to: A downloadable flyer will be available there. For more information you can also send me an email ( How often do we get an opportunity to help strengthen the heart of an artist?


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