September 26, 2008

We live BY faith (or do we)?

Paul, in 2 Corinthians 5:7 says "For we walk by faith, not by sight". But when I consider my life am I really doing that? I believe that I'm actually just now learning what it means to live in such a way that I'm no longer depending on my own abilities, talents, work-ethic, etc. to get me anywhere. I'm being forced into trusting God at every turn and that He is going to be the much better portion, even when I can't see that portion with my own two eyes. As a culture, we are taught to do well in school, get a job, go to college, get a better job, get married, get a better job, have kids, work harder and then someday send your kids to college, work some more, retire, die. Wow! Could it be any more depressing? At what point did we forget to insert the "if God will's it" element? Might there be something so amazing for us (even in this life, not even looking to the "eternal" destiny) that would be so God-glorifying that it would convince us to give up and start living by faith? I wonder how much we (or I) miss out on just because we don't walk by faith. It might be staggering to realize how much we pass up by assuming we should only follow what we see. This entry is more of a quick rant as I'm on the run but I guess my prayer is that Jesus would teach us what it means to trust him even when we can't see what's going on ahead of us. I'm excited to share some of my story in recent days with you, but I can so clearly and boldly say that God has been coming through for me in ways that only He could. Praise be to God.

September 18, 2008

Dirt Makes For A Worthless Empire

On Apr 13, 2007, Chad Johnson wrote a letter to his bands and fellow workers:


You're either someone I work with or someone I've met along the way.

I'm flying 31,000 feet above sea level and I don't know if this happens to everyone else and I'm just the last person to realize it, but I've noticed that I'm commonly inspired when I'm flying. Maybe it's the lack of quality oxygen, maybe it's the fact that I'm 31,000 feet closer to God, maybe it's that I'm forced to be still because I'm surrounded by complete (and often times overweight) strangers. Maybe it's the reality that, up here, the only thing I've got control of is my bladder and even that is a loosing battle. Maybe it's all of the above. Whatever it is, my heart is thinking a bit more than my mind.

It's obvious that I hear God more clearly when my brain and mouth aren't running a hundred miles a minute.

Something that God's been speaking to me is the opportunity that I/WE have to invest in the deeper things of life that really matter over those shallow temptations to keep it all together and pretend like every-thing's cool and under control. Truth is, most of life is completely out of my/our control. Thankfully, that's the way God saw fit to ordain it. Totally void of any "real" control. Any control we do experience is fleeting and normally not very reality based. Especially the kind of control that we'd like to think we have ownership over, namely, material possessions & relationships. Along with the seemingly chaotic experience we call "LIFE", God has also given "those that keep His law in their hearts" the promise that "None of OUR steps shall slide (Psalm 37:31)".

Which of you would have given up your higher education, your hometown, dedicated girlfriend, loving parents and warm bed to hit the road and never look back? Correct me if I'm wrong but you do it because A. you believe in something greater than yourself, B. any chance to experience rock stardom is worth the possible downside, C. You might actually "blow up" and D. You love it and wouldn't trade it for the world

I'm convinced that I've been allowed to have a place in this industry because God cares equally about a hurting scene kid (or band dude) as he does a starving Ethiopian.

For all the foolish things I've done in my days, I'm here to remind you that the only real investment worth pursuing is the one with the greatest pay off. As much as everyone and everything around you screams "more, more, MORE", I'm quietly whispering "In all things, whether you eat or drink, or WHATEVER you do, do it ALL to the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31)". Whether you realize it (or even accept it now), it's your absolute highest calling and strongest yielding investment. God has an incredible plan for your life and it's completely focused to bring Him glory through how you reflect Jesus to others and to share his glory with you. That might sound lofty or impersonal or as though I have it all together and you don't, but I believe it with all my heart as I continue to experience God's hand in my life. All of the soundscan numbers (or lack thereof), big tours, myspace "friends", web banners, radio adds, TV spots and shallow conversations of trivial meaning are all huge hints that I/WE are building an Empire. I don't know about you but I don't want an empire of DIRT. I want an empire of living, breathing, growing, hungry hearts. I'm praying that God gives you eyes to see His eternal reality and inspires you to pursue that deep that calls unto deep.

I've lost count of how many bands I've signed in my 9 years of being in the "record industry", and honestly, it doesn't even matter. Up until about a year and a half ago I had mostly avoided my true calling which is to serve others in love and to do it all to God's glory. I was mostly serving because I was paid to and it was my means to make an end. I'd like to start serving you because I want to see God move powerfully in your lives and to remind you that I care deeply about your personal life and even more importantly your walk with Jesus. How sad that a sincere phrase can sound so cliche. I mean it, regardless of how it might sound and despite of how often I loose focus on what matters.

If there is anything I can do for you, just name it. Prayer, honest conversation, even meaningless soundscan numbers. I'm learning to be a better servant. If Jesus could wash feet, I've got a lot of room to grow..........

I confess and apologize publicly for the years that I've focused mostly on the DIRT and not on the seeds growing (or dying) in it.

With Love & hope for what God Almighty, Jesus the Son and the Holy Ghost have in store for each of you,


"Now to him who is able to do exceedingly and abundantly above all that we ask or imagine according to the POWER that works in us, to him be the glory in the church to all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (Eph. 3:21)"

September 14, 2008

Titanic Disaster

Every Second 2 People Die
Over 180,000 People Will Die Today

I saw this poster recently that was a tribute to the Titanic. One part of the poster really caught my eye and basically blew my mind. It was this young man holding out a copy of the daily paper and the entire headline just read "Titanic Disaster Great Loss of Life". It instantly dawned on me that I didn't comprehend the vast scope of life and death in the way that God would have me understand. God's heart is that we would not only recognize the "Great Loss Of Life" but that He would completely transform us. We don't have to look very far to see Biblical reality that points us to this. The all too familiar verse of John 3:16 reveals clearly how God sees this Titanic Disaster: "This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. (The Message)

If God loved the world, then why don't we? Do we really understand that there is currently such a great loss of life that it's mind-numbing? That the vast majority of fellow humans on earth have so little compared to us and will likely end up spending eternity apart from God? The fact that we aren't completely wrecked by our own hardened hearts when it comes to the way we SEE the people in the world around us proves we have a long way to go. I'll use this analogy to prove my point; when you went out on the town on Saturday night for a dinner & movie you likely came across hundreds of people. Did you even stop and pray for a single ONE of those people? The fact is we don't Get It! What's the greater Disaster, that we as God's kids don't see the need or that our world is going to hell in a handbag? We need the eyes of Jesus to see through the huge wall of our own caloused hearts before we see our "neighbors" as those whose lives are hanging in the balance of eternal destiny.

God, would you give us those eyes that Jesus had. Would you provide us with strength, energy, creativity, endurance, and a massive amount of love to pour out on our fellow man. Not because we are better or that we have anything figured out aside from the blood of Jesus as our covering but because it's absolutely necessary that we see them as You see them. We confess our need for help. Help us as an entire generation to see this Titanic Disaster as something that You would use to bring glory to yourself. Would you allow us to be in Your business of saving lives, as You've saved ours. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven, and since heaven is full of those chosen by you (and who responded) would you enable us to pour ourselves out freely on anyone we come across.

Soften our hearts. Teach us real Love. Do Your work.

September 10, 2008

Are We Zealous Men?

Zeal in religion is a burning desire to please God, to do His will, and to advance His glory in the world in every possible way. It is a desire which no man feels by nature, —which the Spirit puts in the heart of every believer when he is converted,—but which some believers feel so much more strongly than others that they alone deserve to be called "zealous" men.

This desire is so strong, when it really reigns in a man, that it impels him to make any sacrifice,—to go through any trouble,—to deny himself to any amount,—to suffer, to work, to labour, to toil,—to spend himself and be spent, and even to die,—if only he can please God and honour Christ.

A zealous man in religion is pre-eminently a man of one thing. It is not enough to say that he is earnest, hearty, uncompromising, thorough-going, whole-hearted, fervent in spirit. He only sees one thing, he cares for one thing, he lives for one thing, he is swallowed up in one thing; and that one thing is to please God. Whether he lives, or whether he dies,—whether he has health, or whether he has sickness,—whether he is rich, or whether he is poor,—whether he pleases man, or whether he gives offense,—whether he is thought wise, or whether he is thought foolish,—whether he gets blame, or whether he gets praise,—whether he gets honour, or whether he gets shame,—for all this the zealous man cares nothing at all. He burns for one thing; and that one thing is to please God, and to advance God's glory. If he is consumed in the very burning, he cares not for it,—he is content. He feels that, like a lamp, he is made to burn; and if consumed in burning, he has but done the work for which God appointed him. Such a one will always find a sphere for his zeal. If he cannot preach, and work, and give money, he will cry, and sigh, and pray. Yes: if he is only a pauper, on a perpetual bed of sickness, he will make the wheels of sin around him drive heavily, by continually interceding against it. If he cannot fight in the valley with Joshua, he will do the work of Moses, Aaron, and Hur, on the hill. (Exod. xvii. 9-13.) If he is cut off from working himself, he will give the Lord no rest till help is raised up from another quarter, and the work is done. This is what I mean when I speak of "zeal" in religion. - The classic description of zeal for God, given by Bishop J.C. Ryle

Does our culture have this level of Zeal for anything? Do we as Christians even understand what it means to have feelings so strong for Jesus that we would do ANYTHING he asks? What will it take to get us there? I personally confess the years I've wasted in luke-warmness and invite God to make me zealous for all things that bring glory to Him. If you'd like to join me in that confession, leave a comment and I'll pray with you that God would instill His zeal in our hearts.

Check this amazing video:

September 6, 2008

Grocery Store Vision

Mark 8:34 Then he called the crowd to him along with his disciples and said: "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. 35 For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me and for the gospel will save it. 36 What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, yet forfeit his soul? 37 Or what can a man give in exchange for his soul? 38 If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of him when he comes in his Father's glory with the holy angels."

I recently had a vision/picture/revelation where Jesus was leading children through a grocery store and they were struggling to follow. They would grab items off the shelf that were not theirs (or at least not meant for them yet). Jesus was loading a cart full of canned goods and was occasionally giving them out to the children once they had walked out of the store.

The significance of this vision was in our (His kids) inability to follow Christ without being side-tracked by so many things on the shelf. Those things being "stored up" for us by Jesus represent those times where we DO obey and in turn, bear fruit. The fruit is collected and stored in heaven. The items being handed out by Jesus represent the gifts that He gives us to live our lives completely focused on fruit that will last. One day, we'll have the entire cart full of every good gift and we'll see clearly the fruit of our labors.

Jesus, would you teach us what it means to follow hard after you, to take up our crosses DAILY and to deny ourselves. We confess the struggles of being easily distracted. Please put us on your path towards righteousness that we would glorify you in every area of our lives. Teach us to lose our lives so that we might gain them forevermore. Teach us to boldly live as kids committed to following a worthy King. We are kids in desperate need of your power to turn us away from foolishness. Do your work in our lives. We invite your presence to rearrange our priorities. Holy Spirit give us gifts that point others towards genuine love.

September 4, 2008

Taking Back The Streets

My Friend Brian Morgante ( wrote this overview of what went down at the "Taking Back the Streets" Fest in Pilot Mountain, NC on August. 21st and 22nd. He did an excellent job and although it's a lengthy read, I believe it is well worth your time and I can attest to the fact that this was truly a very significant and incredibly special opportunity for those of us present. Thanks Brian! (Note: this picture rules but it's from The Call in DC not TBTS)

There is something new in the air. Something that seems to be stirring in small country towns, large over populated cities, overcrowded venues, and smelly 15 passenger vans. From coast to coast, from churches to bars, from friends to enemies, there is a spirit beginning to stir that cannot be contained, and cannot be denied.
Taking Back the Streets 2008 was scheduled to be a festival modeled closely to anything we may have attended this summer, or the summer prior. A large open space in the middle of no where, campers from around the country, stages with generators under tents, and all of the usual hype, community, worship, fun and ungodly heat that comes with most summer concert festivals. Old friends reacquainted. New friendships stirring under the blaze of the morning sun (or the midnight campfire). One last fun-filled gathering for the summer, and then on with the rest of the year.
At least that's what we all thought upon arrival. God had plans much bigger than our own, much bigger than we could imagine, to create an atmosphere, and let a new spirit and perspective fall that would make us all re-think the meaning behind the name of the festival we were partaking in. There was a vision to be poured out, a revival to be stirred, a hope to be revitalized, and a culture to be restored to its roots and its passion.
On both Thursday and Friday night, the evenings were concluded with a worship set by The Glorious Unseen. All other stages closed up for the night, and all attention focused on bringing everyone on the grounds together for communal worship, prayer, admittance, and restoration. We came expecting, and the Spirit of God came expecting so much more than we could have even begun to imagine. There was an undeniable fact that we would not leave this place unchanged. We would not leave a small campground in Pilot Mountain, North Carolina without a breath of fresh air in our lungs from our Creator. Something was about to explode, and you could feel it all around you.
After a beautiful worship set on the first night, Chad was called to speak a few words, and instead of mere preaching from a pulpit, it became a message brought down to everyone in attendance, as he left the stage, and asked us all to form a tight knit circle around him. Everyone gathered close, friends and strangers alike, we were called to be one body, as we listened intently. We all began to pray together, for one another, for ourselves, for our culture, for our church, and through this intimate time we began to openly make outward confessions to one another in this unified experience. One after another, we would cry out to our Lord, and cry out to our brothers and sisters of those things we grew tiresome within our lives. Begging for forgiveness from our attitudes, our complacency, our addictions, our denial, our hatred, our irresponsibility.
Cries were raised, and some people smiled, as others wept openly. Strangers embraced, while close friends made amends. There was restoration in the air, and there was a spirit of forgiveness all around. We were ready to be filled with something new and beautiful that would transform us into the people that we knew we have been called to be. The people that we know we should be in each and every moment of our existence. Communion was served, and became a body of thanksgiving, singing songs of praise and redemption to our creator in one unified voice, still in our circle, with nothing more than Ben leading from an acoustic guitar and handclaps that rose loud and proud to our Father in heaven, who was smiling down upon us. Praise be to the Lord of forgiveness, the Father of love, and the Redeemer of our souls.
With a rejuvenation flowing through the festival from the night before, spirits were high, and expectant as the festival continued on. Worship was slated again for 10:30 on the main stage, and we were eager to come together once again to give praise to our Father. After a long day of honest and beautiful music, the Spirit was already starting to prepare hearts for what was coming. We knew that tonight was the night we would be changed and challenged in ways we never could have imagined.
Once again, an absolutely beautiful and honest worship set as people really set in to discover the heart of their Savior, really anchor themselves to a spirit that was so graciously arriving to sweep us away on that Friday night. As the music itself began to wind down, Tommy from Sleeping Giant came up and began to pray for the body, and Chad directed that in prayer before worship had begun, God had revealed that we were to go to the top of the hill in which we were at the bottom of, together, as one body, and begin to earnestly pray for the Holy Spirit to come upon us in ways we never thought possible. Tonight was the night chains would be broken. Tonight was the night we would dream dreams, and have visions, and feel the undeniable presence of a Spirit that Christ himself promised would be instilled in us. Hands were latched, and we spread into an enormous circle. Leaders were spread out and every individual was prayed for and together with to see a Spirit become prevalent in our lives, and demand a radical change to our lives. As we cried out, His presence reigned down in a way that I, personally, have not seen in ages, but gave all the signs that something big was about to happen, something so much bigger than I feel myself, or anyone there even realized as the night began.
Kids and adults alike, began to sweep across the circle, praying for any and everyone. This was unity. There was no hesitation as strangers spoke into the lives of fellow brothers, and encouraged, discerned, and embraced one another. Relationship through unity made us all closer than we could have ever imagined, and there were no inhibitions as we cried out as one. The focus was the Spirit, and there was an authenticity in the words and tears and laughs and confessions of each and every person present. There were no more shows, or talk of who did amazing that night. There was no more focus on status, or reputation, band or fan, old or young, new faith or seasoned warrior. It was about love, consolation, healing, restoration, uprising, radicalism, movement, and change. We would not leave until we knew one hundred percent that His Spirit had met with us, and had moved through us, radically transforming who and what we were, and who and what we were to become!
There was an invitation to be filled with the Holy Spirit, an invitation that is not usually given to many people you find involved in our culture. A culture that has abandoned conventional church, and people that have come to a festival maybe not evening knowing what the act of being filled with the Spirit entailed. There was an earnest understanding of the power that was about to be unleashed, as it was accepted and welcomed. People eager to learn and understand and be filled stepped forth, as those who have experienced what was going on began to welcome this Spirit to fall, welcome this Spirit to fill these open hearts and minds, these surrendered lives to the power of the Most High. At this point, everything changed, and became so much bigger than we expected!
Gifts were poured out almost instantly, and we began to see outward evidence of what the Spirit was beginning to do within individuals, as well as the body. People were slain in the Spirit, collapsing literally under the full surrender of themselves to the Spirit. Tongues were spoken in an orderly fashion, one at a time, as others openly interpreted the intimate messages to the body. We began to see healing, and words of knowledge and truth spoken out. With such innocence reigning in this obedient body, we saw an authentic move on the Spirit in a large group of people, many of us, for the very first time in our lives. We saw the REAL power of the gifts, and we experienced the most intimate love our human-ness is able to experience.
Hours passed, and there was a rejuvenation poured out upon us through this revival, and as things were winding down emotionally, we knew this was more than hype. We knew this was more than a feel good mountain experience. We knew this wasn't a revitalization that would keep a smile on our face for a mere moment and fade as we all went our separate ways. This was a call of knowledge, a call of responsibility, a call to radical change in our individual lives, homes, churches, towns, cities, communities. With understanding comes the responsibility to grow that. To spread passion from person to person and create a unity in what the Lord is trying to tell us each and every day. We knew without a shadow of a doubt we were given something special, that would be spread to the farthest corners of our country and our world, and new wondrous things instilled within us that would give us a peace and foundation to many of our questioned beliefs. There is no denying we experienced the power of almighty God, and we would return home to instill this new revival to those around us.
Be alert to what is happening. Be a voice of truth and discernment in all that you do and everywhere that you go. There is something new stirring, and God is ready to use the willing to bring forth truth in our culture, in our church body, in our relationships, and in our lives once again. God willing we will be obedient to that small still whisper he is pleading with us to recognize once again. Praise be to Him!

September 2, 2008

Vision of The Dam

I was in Albuquerque, NM on July 26th when God gave me this vision. It was immediately after the Glorious Unseen/Ember Days set at around 11PM.

I received a mental picture of a huge body of water. Very still, placid water. A massive man-made dam was holding back the water. The dam appeared to have been in place for year and years but stretched for miles. It was enormous. For years it had lived up to it's intended purpose of holding back the waters. On the dry side of the dam I noticed that there were cracks and fissures, indicating it's aging weakness. I felt the Lord saying that the work that had happened that night in ALBQ did some serious damage in a spiritual sense. Again I saw the body of water held back by the dam but this time I noticed that one of the cracks was starting to pour forth a small but steady stream of water. God was saying that WE had caused the growing weakness with our intercession for this country (and especially UNITY amongst believers and there respective "Denominations" - Demon nations, ha?). The last picture I saw was accompanied with God saying "look and see what I will be doing". I saw the body of water being held back by a weakening dam and then, in an instant, the pressure caused by the weight of the water completely crushed the dam and broke it down to pieces. Huge swells of water rushed out over a green, hilly land and didn't leave anything in it's path untouched. Trees were uprooted, boulders were being carried away by the massive flow of water and it was pouring fourth without being held back an ounce.

At the time I didn't completely understand what the body of water symbolized but felt God explained it later as his Body of believers here in the US. and that he was going to use the youth to uproot years and years worth of man-made opposition to His plan. All summer I've had the verse in 1 Corinthians 1:27 - "God will use the foolish things of this world to bring shame to the wise and the weak things of this world to bring down the Mighty things".

I firmly believe that a Movement is coming where the youth will be living their lives in complete abandon to anything but the power of the Holy Spirit guiding them onward towards the cross. It's already happening. Maybe not in easily defined terms, but the work God is doing is reaching kids at the core where previous generations had not considered going. I pray that we would be prepared to live our lives as though the end is upon us and we're quickly exiting the scene. I'm beyond tired of living a luke-warm Christian faith and God knows I'm hungry to feel some heat.