September 18, 2008

Dirt Makes For A Worthless Empire

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

Dudes.

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,

Chad

"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)"

7 comments:

kayla renae said...

dude...really? holy Spirit spoke or yelled or whatever straight to me on that one. thanks so much. i am excited to see what God is going to be doing in and with you. that was so encouraging for where i am currently and the thoughts that are complicating me from time to time. im real proud of you and beth and am honored to call you guys "parents." much love and prayer goes to you chadwick.
linsey-cakes

Jones Family said...

Amen Chad, amen indeed my friend.

kevin kneifel said...

Chad, this blog is really a great thing for young guys like me, who really feel called to ministry through music! Keep it up!

Alex Blankenship said...

Chad,

Great post Brother. It's encouraging to hear your words of what's important. Keep up the good fight!

(P.S. am a friend of Aaron Winter's)

Alex

Robert said...

ooh man that was a harsh line "worthless soundscan numbers" when that is what it has all become these days and not about Jesus. im glad you see how God sees it. something that has needed to be said for a while from a voice like yours amazing. you are truly a hero of the industry in my eyes bring God back to the center. much respect sir much. God i just pray right now over chad that he would continue to be bold in saying what you are telling him to say. no matter how harsh a word or person he has to tell. i thank you for is obedience and i pray that we would follow him like paul said "follow me as i follow Christ" i pray that his bands would honor him in that way. to see him as a paul and not a saul any more.

Demolition Donnie said...

Dude I love your heart! and I love this blog. you and I are in very different parts of the industry and God gifted me above all else with a heart to serve people, which i grow more and more into each and every day. The more I fall in love with God the more I fall in love with the people he has created and the more my heart breaks for these kids.
Our lives are lives of a missionary who much like the missionary who goes to Ethiopia has to understand the culture in which we serve. And amen the fact that God cares just as much about the scene kid with black hair, black band shirt, gages and tattoos as he does for the kids in Ethiopia. I wish more people understood that and were willing to reach out to this hurting, broken generation instead of dogging them for being lazy and having no ambition, that's our fault for not being better parents, better teachers, a more engaged church.
I am blessed to have the opportunity to take care of your bands, I am honored to work along side you to help reach out to them and I am anxious for the day when we can get people on the road with them who can continue to mentor and mold them so they can in turn do what God has called them to do, to be a light in this dark world. God Bless, I am praying for you. Donnie

bruce roberts said...

Chad, That is exctly what life is truly about.I have learned in the last several years that "THE REAL DEAL" is what God is concerned with and your heart definitely falls in that category.I am glad He has linked all these hearts to honor and glorify Him and I am proud to call you friend.