Thursday, November 16, 2017

THE HALLELUJAH THUNDER CLAP - Thursday Nov. 16, 2017

RECOLLECTIONS... of a Continental Director

“The Hallelujah Thunder Clap”
By Dan Burgess

Dan came to The Continental Singers in 1968 from a Christian bookstore in Buffalo, New York.  He wanted to be a singer and an acoustic guitarist in our new folk group, “The New Hope Singers and Tambourine Band”.  That band later became a Christian Rock band, “NEW HOPE”. (Dan is the singer on the far right.) Here is his story from an early tour to Europe in 1972-73:

We were in Holland, performing in a large, old, beautiful, cold, echoing, cathedral where Rembrandt is buried.  I remember it so clearly because I was conducting the concert standing on Rembrandt’s tomb!  (I kid you not!)  It was a dark and stormy night, with torrential rain and lightning, but it did not deter people from coming to our concert. The Dutch people loved The Continental Singers!  Our drummer had the night off, otherwise the concert would have still been going on for a least two minutes after my final cutoff!  (Did I mention the echo?)  Anyway, we had lost power and so we performed acapella in that natural echo chamber.  The concert went well and we closed the evening with a new version of the Hallelujah Chorus written by Ralph Carmichael called, “The New Hallelujah”.  The weather had gone from bad to worse as the evening progressed, and seemed to be drawing to a climax as did the concert.

We reached the end of the concert, the end of the tune, indeed, the last five words of the evening.  The Continental Singers were into it and the audience was on the edge of their seat and the weather was pounding the building as we sang, “Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah, Hallelujah… (right here there was a big pause in the music) and at that moment, God hit that building with a thunder clap that shook the mortar.  The clap itself was deafening, but the power of the rolling sound that followed it went on for a good thirty seconds echoing around the inside of the cathedral.   Then, as the very last faint echo of that incredible boom died away, we all lifted our voices and from the depths of our being sang the last “HAL-LE-LU-JAH.”

You had to be there….

Dan was always a comedian and a hilarious performer, entertaining his tours and our staff, pretending to be some famous singer, mouthing the lyrics to that artist’s funny song.  He also sang tenor with a very fast vibrato and eventually developed into a fine musician and Continental Director. He has gone on to have a prolific music career writing some of of our best loved songs such as "Thank You, Lord" and "In His Presence".   

In 2011, Dan made a series of videos with Cynthia Clawson and pianist Brian Mann that have a very personal touch...we know you will enjoy watching Dan as he tells the backstory and watching the beautiful artistry of Cynthia and Brian. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

ON THE FRONTLINE - Monday Nov. 13, 2017


JUNE 1996


“Faith in Motion” was the title of our new CD.  The idea taken

from James’ message, “Faith without works is dead.”  The concept was, you show me your faith without doing anything and I’ll show you my faith by my actions.”  We wanted to be aggressive in our faith and our mission.  The song choices bore that out, “On the Frontline”, “Where No Man Has Gone Before”, “Future Generations”,  and of course, “Faith in Motion”.

Josh McDowell was preaching, “If you want to reach deep into a kid’s soul, you’ve got to use music.”  TIME Magazine had just come out with the phrase, “Music is the anthem of today’s youth.”  Those phrases put us into action.  They were exactly why we believed the Continental’s music was reaching people with a positive gospel message and was the answer to America’s and the world’s social ills.  Jesus could make the difference in people’s lives.

We had just coined a new name for the regular, normal Continental Singers, we now called, “The Frontline Continentals”.  I reminded them of our 30-year history to that point of sending thousands of young musicians just like them all over the world on the frontline, carrying our music and message.  I also told them the frontline was anywhere and everywhere we would send them this summer and listed all the countries they would visit.  To remind them they were never alone, I quoted some lyrics from Andrae Crouch’s song, “I’ve Got Confidence” - “I’ve got confidence God is gonna see me through, no matter what the case may be, I know He’s gonna fix it for me….”

We ended with what I called, “The Declaration of the Frontline Continentals” taken from John Osteen’s “Declaration for the 21st century…” I did take some liberty with his words… here was that night’s real message….

I am part of the Frontline Continentals.  I have Holy Spirit power. The dye has been cast.  I have stepped over the line, the decision has been made.  I am a disciple of Jesus.  I will not look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.  My past is forgiven, my present makes sense, my future is secure.  I am finished and done with low living, sight walking, chincey giving, dwarf goals.  I no longer need preeminence, prosperity position, prominence or popularity.  I don’t have to be right.  I don’t have to be first.  I don’t have to be tops.  I don’t have to be recognized.  I don’t have to be praised.  I don’t have to be regarded nor rewarded.  I now live in His presence, move by faith, walk with patience, lift by prayer, and labor by power. My face is set.  My pace is fast.  My goal is heaven.  My road is narrow.  My way is rough.  My companions few. My guide is reliable.  My mission is clear.  I cannot be bought.  I cannot be compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, diluted, or turned away.  I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice, hesitate in the presence of the adversary, negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, meander in the mace of mediocrity.  I will not give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, preached up and performed up for the cause of Christ.  I am a servant of Jesus Christ.  I must go until He comes, give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until he stops me.  And when He comes for His own, He will have no trouble recognizing me because my motivations, intentions and colors are clear.  I have put my “Faith in Motion”.

I am on the frontline. 

I am a Frontline Continental.

Friday, November 10, 2017

GOD'S AWESOME WORDS SPEAK! - Friday Nov. 10, 2017

REVERBERATIONS...from David's Psalms


Psalm 19:7-14 declares the Glory of God’s words.  On September 22nd, I posted some words about Psalm 19:1-6. David writes about God’s creation declaring His Glory. If you have ever stood in the hallway of the 27,000-foot mountains on the way to Everest Base Camp in the Himalayas, or driven through the valleys of the Swiss Alps, or been over the Continental Divide in the Rockies of Colorado, or then been to the opposite, the flat of the desert in the Western U.S. and been dazzled by a gazillion stars, then, you certainly know about Rich Mullins’ song, “Our God is an Awesome God!”

But now, from verses 7 to 14, it’s all about God’s awesome words.  David says the Lord’s precepts, statues, commands, laws, and ordinances are Perfect, reviving the soul; Trustworthy, making us wise; Right, giving joy to the heart; Radiant, giving light to our eyes; Righteous, more precious than gold and sweeter than honey. Living by these precious words of God, there is great reward.  Whew! These are the answers to today’s many social issues.  David also says in verse 9, that respecting and honoring these words of the Lord is a pure act and endures forever.  We get the idea that spending time reading God’s word is a great idea!

Then, as a final thought in verse 13, David declares that following these words of the Lord will definitely keep someone blameless from willful transgressions.  He ends Psalm 19 with a well-known quote and the desire of his heart, and hopefully ours as well, “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in Your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer”.

Listen to Rich Mullins' amazing song, sung by another friend of The Continentals, Michael W. this and worship 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

"SEWEY TEWEY AND SMELL CONNELL" - Wed. November 8, 2017

RECOLLECTIONS… of an Original Continental

“Sewey Tewy and Smell Connell”
By Les Connell

After concertizing from Portland to Miami, the 1964 Continentals boarded a ship for a 3 day cruise to Nassau in the Bahamas.  Sponsored there by Youth For Christ, they would perform a special concert for the Governor of the Bahamas at the famed Queen Elizabeth Hotel. Les and Bill seemed to have a schedule of their own and one morning snuck ashore before the group had been released to snorkel and enjoy a day in Paradise…and they paid the price for their folly! 

“Tewson and I were grounded on the ship while the others got to enjoy the Bahama tropics!  Later in the morning, some of the group had rented a glass-bottom boat and were sailing by yelling and teasing us.  We got the great idea to jump overboard (probably Bill’s idea, he was always getting frisbees from gas station roofs whenever our bus needed fuel).  

Anyway, we did it.  We jumped off the ship into the beautiful blue Bahamian ocean… 

Only a moment before we jumped, the ship discharged its sewer into the harbor right where we dove in.

The Continentals on the glass-bottom boat saw this and cheered and enjoyed our distress.  From then on, we got new names… “Sewey Tewey and Smell Connell.”   We carried those distinguished names throughout the rest of the tour.  Two of our peers (now pastors) still jokingly call us by those nick names to this day… over 50 years later.

The moral?  Never sneak off a Cam Floria Continental tour - ever!!"

Les toured in 1964 as a tenor on our 2nd tour with the Originals out of Portland, Oregon around the U.S. and to the Bahamas.  After serving in Viet Nam, he resumed his work with the U.S. Forest Service and been the pianist and choir director at his church, both over 50 years, along with serving with the Gideons for 25 years, the last 3 as president of Gideons Int’l of Oregon. Bill and his wife Jackie (of almost 50 years) have 3 daughters. 

" I learned many lifelong lessons from was choir directing, which I've done for years, and another is a passion for climbing mountains...I've climbed 33...and since I'm now 70, that will probably be it!"     

Bill Tewson was also a pianist and wrote many songs in the early days of the Continentals, notably for the musical “The Apostle.”  Currently, Bill is a chiropractor in Fairbanks, Alaska.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

"A HIGHER PURPOSE" - Wednesday November 1, 2017



Our new album was called “Airborne” with a picture of legs and colored tennis shoes up in the air. Everyone was talking about a driving purpose for our lives.

I want you, Continental Singers, sitting here tonight to know that there is a bigger reason that you showed up here this week. Bigger than you could have ever imagined.  Something is going to happen and it’s going to be more exciting than you could have ever dreamed or hoped for.  The Bible puts it this way…  “No eye has seen, nor ear has heard, and no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him.”  God has prepared something for you, a purpose, a higher purpose, just for you this summer and we get to be part of it, too!

TIME Magazine recently had an article about people your age, that said, “The part of the brain that makes teenagers more responsible, is not finished maturing yet!”  BIG SURPRISE! “Adolescents tend to seek out situations where they can allow their emotions to run wild, contributing to an appetite for thrills, strong sensations, and excitement.”  And that is one big reason why you are here with us, because Continental Singers offers the same appetite for excitement.

God has called you to a higher purpose.  Jeremiah 29 says “God has a plan for you”.  John 15 says “Jesus chose you”. Ephesians 1 says “It was before you were born”.  And Romans seals it all by adding that “Everything works out for the best for those who love God and are called for His purpose”.  That’s you… YOU, Continental Singer.  God decided YOU were going to be here tonight, and for a higher purpose that only He knows that will happen this summer.

There are three other things we know, too:

1.   We are going to bring pleasure to the Lord.  Psalm 92 says it this way, “It is good to praise the Lord and make music to Your name, O Most High, to proclaim Your love in the morning and faithfulness at night”.
2.   Your performance is designed to “Pass the Flame and Unite the World” like the Olympic athletes this summer, but you will do it by expanding the kingdom of God.
3.   You will prevail.  Your persistence and hard push against all obstacles will bring big results.  You will help others go “Airborne” as you go for a higher purpose.

God uses amateurs to accomplish his purpose.  That’s why he chose me and you, along with people like David, who was anointed to be a king while still a teenage shepherd.  Paul told Timothy not to worry about his youth, but just to be an example for the Lord.  That’s your charge and call as well.

Now get busy.   Reach for that “Higher Purpose”.

Friday, September 22, 2017

GOD’S AWESOME CREATION SPEAKS! – Friday Sept. 22, 2017



Psalm 19:1-4  “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands.  Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.  There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard.  Their voice goes out into all the earth, their words to the ends of the world.”

David wrote those amazing lyrics, but God created the glory we see in the sky and the heavens every day.  It doesn’t get clearer than this.  The whole world and every living creature in it sees, or feels or hears about God’s majestic glory every day no matter the earthly condition any of us finds ourselves in.

David, more than any other writer God used to piece together His words for our benefit, talks about the wonders he saw in God’s handiwork.  Maybe it’s because he spent so much of his life in pastures, deserts, hills and mountains and close to rivers  streams and lakes, but whatever his circumstance was, nothing was lost to his senses and emotions and as he was filled up with God’s splendor, his lyrics spilled over into songs and the greatness of the Most High.

These are now our treasure, as they have been for others, for over 3,000 years and the first six verses of this gorgeous Psalm will certainly live on to declare the glory and truth of God’s creation for all generations.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017



By Jeff Moore (assistant director on a Bob Griffith tour)

In 1978 my tour traveled to Central and Eastern Europe.  Our pianist was a young man who had spent the previous year training for the U.S. Olympic Ski Team tryouts. Although he had not made the team yet, he still had hopes of qualifying to compete in the 1980 winter Olympic games.  He kept in great shape developing his stamina all through the summer tour by propping his back against any wall he could find and sliding down until he was in a seated position, suspending his hips in the air as if he was sitting down.

Many of our tour members tried this as well hoping to match his stamina.  No one even came close.

As we traveled throughout Eastern Europe we discovered that many of the churches where we were scheduled to perform did not even have a piano.  The keyboard was an integral part of our instrumental section and the choir certainly depended on it.  So in many places, we had to use an organ as a substitute.  Not the perfect instrument for a contemporary musical sound and they were not Hammond B 3’s!  In fact, in one church the only keyboard instrument available was an ancient pump organ which required the player to constantly pump two pedals with his or her feet while playing.  No one who ever traveled with me on my 5 tours could have made it through our 2 hour concert except for one Olympic ski trainee with powerful legs and unbelievable stamina.  Afterwards he wasn’t even tired.  God had placed the Olympic hopeful on our tour knowing we would need him for an important and special concert in communist Eastern Europe where we would have a beautiful time with some folks who needed an evening of true inspiration and a time listening to the freeing gospel message wrapped up in some really great music.

Jeff Moore, toured five times and three as a director.  In addition, because he is one of the finest bass singers in Los Angeles, he sang on Continental albums for over 30 years and was in the recording choir performance at the Continental’s 40th anniversary concert.