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JFH Staff Blog | June 2008

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Confessions of a Fest-Going Youth Worker

Well, I leave with my youth group for Creation on Tuesday. I just got done packing yesterday. Yeah, I know what you're thinking, "Wow! Packed already?! He must be really excited." I am pretty excited, but there's a lot more to it than just that. You see, I'm packed, but the group? Not so much. The next couple of days for me will be filled with grocery shopping, calling teens to make sure they know what they need to know (because that handy packet I gave them was most likely used as a paper towel substitute in a moment of desparation and haste), finalizing some of the riding arrangements, fretting, counting... everything, making lists, checking things off those lists, making sure all the bases are covered for me at the church while I'm gone, and losing the rest of my hair.

For the youth worker, it's A LOT of work. Why do we do it all? Wouldn't it be much easier if we just went with our own friends? Sure, it would, but we do it because we believe in how God can move in your life at an event like this. We believe that every day God is reaching out his hand to you, waiting to lead you into a deeper relationship with Him and an event like this can be the springboard into this. Above all, we do this because love God and we love YOU.

So if you're going to Creation with your youth group, make sure you say thank you to your youth pastor & leaders. You honestly can't thank them enough. ;) And feel free to look me up if you're there. I'll be the guy looking relieved because the hard part is over!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Where He Leads...

This past couple years has included a lot of changes for my life. From starting at Lancaster Bible College in January 2006, spending the last two years there, and now coming home to figure out God's next step for my life, He's been there through everything.

LBC has been my life for the past couple years, and now coming home is a definite change for me. I've always loved music, and for the past year I've been planning on going into the music industry, working for and with the bands we here at JfH love. It's always been a dream of mine. But is it a worthwhile goal? Is it something that is worth putting time, effort, money, and ultimately, your whole life into? These are some of the questions that have plagued my mind in the past few weeks and months. While music and the industry is definitely rewarding, it's also very demanding. It's not like you can get a degree in something and go right up to working with bands like Relient K or someone else famous. It takes hard work. 

It's things like this that make me go back to the younger days of my life and wonder, how could things be if...say, this happened? If I had taken a few extra classes in high school. If I had dated a certain person for longer. If I hadn't been a Christian, even. I'm sure we all wonder these things. But what we need to remember is that Christ has been there through it all, and even before it all. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a cop. Somewhere along the line I gave up on that, and moved on to an astronaut, or moved on to wanting to be a teacher. Through time, I went to LBC and felt God calling me to youth ministry, but my professors saw that it was an impulsive thought, just wanting to be like someone else, to make them happy. As my time ended at LBC this year, I felt my love for music grow stronger, and it pulled me in, as if God's will had changed, saying that my passion was something to build my life upon. But recently, I've felt like if I go into the industry, I'll be working with something I love, and one day that love will turn to hate. I'll get sucked into the wrong side of the industry, and maybe lose my love for music altogether. I know it may sound absurd, but I don't want to take that chance, at times. It's things like this that go through my mind, making me think that maybe I should look into criminal justice, something I really am interested in, and have been since I was a kid.

While this all sounds so empty and like I'm losing my mind (I hope not), it reminds me more and more that wherever He leads, I will follow. For a while that was LBC, now it's coming home and figuring out what step is next. This is just a reminder to all of you, whenever it seems like God's will is far, far from what you can ever imagine, He's still there, willing to take you there, one step at a time. Knowing God's will is never easy, and we need to constantly pray, meditating in His presence, giving Him our lives, and He'll be there. I hope you're encouraged by this, I know it's something I needed to be reminded of, especially recently.

Justin

Friday, June 20, 2008

In the Days to Come, You'll Understand

Hey guys, this is J. M. Farro, JFH's resident devotional author, for those of you who don't know me.  I'm a wife and mother to two (sometimes) grown-up kids, who have since flown the coop.  I can't quite say that my husband, Joe, and I are empty-nesters, though, since we have our hands full raising two very large and active domestic ducks. Right now, our female duck, Lily, is sitting on her nest of eggs.  What she and her mate, Larry, don't realize is that those poor eggs will never hatch.  As soon as they begin to look "ripe," I remove them from her nest and discard them.  Some people think this is cruel, but I've got good reasons for doing things this way.  My husband and I can't provide for a whole family of ducks, but we still want Lily to go through the sitting process.  If we don't allow her to do this, she will continue to lay eggs year 'round, and she'll most likely develop some serious nutritional deficiencies and die.  We know this is so, because we lost our first two female ducks this way.

The weather has been hot, and it's been difficult for me to watch Lily confine herself to her stuffy little house, and go without food or water for many hours at a time--all for nothing.  When I'm tempted to put a halt to this seemingly pointless routine, I force myself to picture our females, Daisy and Katie, and how they died.  I tell myself often, "This is for Lily's own good," and in my heart, I know it's true.  Still, sometimes it hurts to see all the tender care and handling that she gives her beloved eggs.

I can't help thinking about how many times the Lord must watch us struggle with things that cause us hurt and heartache, knowing that in the long run, we will reap some benefit from them.  I have often cried out to God in my confusion and pain and heard Him speak to my heart--"In the days to come you will understand all this." (Jeremiah 30:24 NLT)  The longer I walk with the Lord, the more I realize how true this is.  Perhaps you are in a difficult place today, and you have questions of your own.  Let me encourage you to put your trust in God--believing His precious promise to cause all things to work for your good!  (Romans 8:28)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Chris Taylor here...

First and Foremost,

I am delighted to be here with you! There is no better time than now to share our hearts and encourage one another. When JFH came to me about writing here i couldn't wait to write. By the way, my name is Chris Taylor and i live in Destin, Fl where I was born and raised. I can't justify moving anytime soon. Part of my life right now consists of being a new artist signed to www.becrecordings.com and learning to live the life of a touring artist. Obviously, this is just part of who I am. I love to surf, run, play Didgeridoo (More than everything else!) and hang with my wife and daughter. I am currently working on dying.

I can't lie. Christ deserves everything. He deserves us to love Him and love our neighbors. He requires us to be vulnerable. I want to open a dialogue that encourages us here to be open with one another. To be humbled by Christ's matchless love. A few nights ago my night was ruined.

I was heading to a movie with a friend to have some mindless fun and then it happened.  I get in his car and hear a voice coming from his speakers. Rich Mullins ruined my night. No longer was I going to enjoy a giant green guy running around acting like an incredible Hulk. Rich Mullins instantly stopped me in my tracks. It’s like my soul’s thirst was being quenched. I had been panting for life and didn’t even realize it. I didn’t need a movie to get my mind off my worries; I needed to hear a heart aching for God. It was real. You could hear it in his voice and I could feel it in my soul. A couple of my dear friends were talking and it’s clearly no coincidence that guys like Rich Mullins and Keith Green were taken from us early in their lives. These men had a backbone and stood for something. I’m just at a point in my life where I want to act out my faith.

Let’s use this blog as a place to encourage one another and grow in Christ. Feel free to comment and share your life. Be vulnerable.

Warmly, 
Chris

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

My second blog...for the first time

yeah, that blog headline right there is another attempt (by me) at "being funny."  is it funny??  you decide.  so here i am (by the way, i've decided to not worry anymore about punctuation or anything like that, so if you get offended by my i's always being little and un-capitalized, then don't read my blogs anymore, cause i've given it up)  on the eve of us leaving for the nevertheless/ruth/deas vail run that we're doing in between all of these awesome festivals, and i find myself not packed at all.  but that's a normal thing.  i've been trying working really hard with johnathan from 11ty7 on getting the routing squared away for our tour in october, and i'm really excited about it.  it's gonna be so much fun.  matt (11ty7 matt) and i want to set aside a few days where we can all go camping out in some national park and try to survive the "rugged" wilderness.  and it's pretty cool too, cause a lot of campgrounds now have wireless internet!!!! yeah!!!! and cable!!!!   anyway, i was telling him that we need to film it and make a great movie extravaganza about it.  i think you guys would like that, right?  so let's see, i think i'm going to give you guys the run-down of everything that i have to do today to get ready to leave.  other than the obvious (pack and all that), there are a few mandatory things that i usually have to do before we leave.  today is no exception.  today, coon and i are going to go thrift store shopping for some vests.  a few of us wear vests on stage to match our "brand" (for you hapless know-nots out there, brand is an industry word for "look" or "gimmick"...man, we're just a bunch of sell outs ) and we've been buying some at thrift stores lately and spray painting them like we do our shirts to make them look dirty like us dirty south-ers!  or should that be southerners....who knows?  if you want a vest though, visit our merch table.  we found like three little baby ones last week, and it was awesome. we briefly had a "baby wavorly" fashion line at our merch table.  i've also got to get these new t-shirts (they're awesome!) we got in over to seth's house, which is where we keep our van and trailer and also where we practice and record demos.  he's got a swimming pool too, and that is the fabled landmark where we (as a band...kind of) taught coon how to swim a few summers ago.  really, it was dave and trey (our old drummer) and seth and jaime that taught him how to swim...i was mostly just trying to drown him and take him out of this world.  but that's just how our friendship is, it's a tough love.  what else....i guess just make sure that everything's ready for us to go and make sure that all of our people are ready.

other than that...there's not much to do.  hmmm, there's really not much to do at all.  that's good.  that means i can be lazy.  and that's just how i like it.

so, in closing today, i think it's gonna be a good little tur' we got coming up.  we're gonna have fun with our friends, and that's the best thing about being in a band.  getting to make friends with tons of people, and getting to see how God works in not only your own personal life, but in the lives of others.  sometimes, it reminds me just how much i don't have Him figured out, and i think that's one of the best things about Him.  always moving and working in different ways. 

so anyway, i hope that you guys come out to the shows, come say hello, and i hope you get some lazy days this summer where you think you've got a bunch to do, but then you realize it's not all that much to do at all.  we're playing icthus tomorrow (thursday, the 12th), we'll see ya there!     -matt

 

Monday, June 09, 2008

Hey, check this out!

Hey what's up? I wrote a blog about Tooth and Nail a few weeks ago, but it never went through. Apparently it's because something was wrong with the blog system. Anyway, I just thought about it and realized I hadn't shown the blog any love since then (and that doesn't really count anyway) so I thought I'd hit it up. Basically what I was trying to say in the awesome post that nobody read was that Tooth and Nail is still awesome. Yeah some of their recent signings haven't been all that impressive, but they've improved significantly under the influence of T&N. I won't name any names (not to pick fights or anything), but some of the bands I felt really needed it. Once their CDs came out I liked them more. Maybe not go out on the first day and buy ten copies of their album love them, but I wasn't mad at T&N anymore. I think those guys over there know what they're doing. Now if they would actually get a new website for the first time in 5 years like they promised on the newest podcast; that would be awesome. But whatever.

I think sometimes when people think of the forefront of Christian music they think of Tooth and Nail. That's alright because I think that they are publicizing some of the best stuff in the industry today; Christian AND secular. But does the Tooth really stand alone? Is the Tooth the label to end all labels? They've always been my favorite, but I don't think that they're the only label making waves with Christian music. Here's why:

Just look at The Militia Group. Over the years they've been home to The Rocket Summer, Copeland, We Shot the Moon (w/Jonathan Jones of former T&N band Waking Ashland), Lakes (w/Seth Roberts of former T&N band Watashi Wa), Man Alive, and Acceptance. Probably more. And currently, some of the guys from former Floodgate band Transition are rocking it over in The Morning Light on Fearless Records. Tyler Read, another awesome group of guys, were over at Immortal Records until it recently folded. Rise Records even has their own showcase stage at Cornerstone 2008 with bands like Here I Come Falling and Before their Eyes (also the label home to The Devil Wears Prada). Akissforjersey is on Tragic Hero in my hometown Raleigh, The Reign of Kindo is on OneEleven Records, and This Providence is on Fueled by Ramen. While not on the Nail, all of these bands have had an opportunity to reach out to different groups of people that even Tooth and Nail bands may not have come in contact with. They are on different tours, have different managers and different bosses at the end of the day. And they may have even toured with a Tooth and Nail band once or twice before.

Shouldn't we just be excited that there are bands out there still willing to make a stand for Jesus Christ, whether through positive lyrics, lifestyle witnessing, or a clear message? I mean it's easy to talk about T&N all day, but let's give some other labels some cred. Kick back and enjoy the music.

 

Summer Soundtracks

So one of my favorite things about summer is driving down the interstate, windows down, andhaving areally great CD playing in the stereo and pouringout the windows for all the transporting world to hear. There is nothing quite like that. I sometimes believe it is the epitome of freedom that we, as young adults, experience. These are some soundtracks that have defined numerous summers for me. Maybe they have for you as well. Regardless, I'd love for you all to share some of your summer soundtracks....

Read More "Summer Soundtracks"

Men who cook... are OK in my book!

I love to cook and I love to eat. I love trying different kinds of foods, I actually love shopping most of the time, and I definitely love preparing new and interesting dishes in the kitchen. However, sadly I have not been blessed with a husband who feels the same way about it. Granted, I wouldn't change a thing because this is the man God gave me for my life's partner... but his idea of cooking is flipping a few burgers onto the ol' BBQ.  Don't get me wrong, I love a mouth-watering BBQ'd steak with real, honest-to-goodness grill marks! But I find I am somewhat saddened by the fact that I have never had a man cook for me. That "department" is mine.  His is the lawn. You know the drill ;o)

Men.... please... have a few recipes in your repertoire that are easy and delicious; trust me, it melts a woman's heart if you cook for her. Even the effort is appreciated.

Ladies... appreciate the effort and praise him when he tries.

Boys... ask your parents to teach you how to cook when you are young and stay with it all through your life. The more you cook, the more you will probably enjoy it and you will become very good at it. Your girlfriend/wife later in life will love you for it.

Parents... welcome your children into the kitchen. It's the heartbeat of the home, a place where delicious meals and fond memories are created. When your toddler helps you with the chocolate cake batter and has it all over his face, don't grab the wash cloth, grab the camera and capture the precious moment. Trust me, it's a wonderful time in their lives, for all of you.

Husband.... make me a sandwich. :o)

My first blog...for the second time.

So, this is the second time I have tried to blog on this here jesusfreakhideout blog place, and I'm hoping that this one works.  My first blog that I wrote was kind of funny, and I was really happy with it, but I guess that the "blog gods" didn't see fit for it to work. They do have a sense of humor after all, who knew?  So anyway, my name is Matt, and I place bass in a little collection of guys called Wavorly.  We are a merry band of men that travel this country playing rock and roll and seeing God move not only in our own lives, but in the lives of others as well.  And that, my friends, is what makes all the difference.  Well...let's see here...what's goin on with us lately?  We are currently making demos for what hopefully will be our second record.  The songs are more along the lines of the songs Madmen, Part One, Forgive and Forget, and Tale of the Dragon's Defeat from our first album.  We hope that you guys really like the new stuff like we do.  We've been playing two new songs recently, "Storms" and "Time Won't Turn Back,"  which is probably one of the coolest things we've ever written.  For those of you who have hung with us lately, you've met our sound guy / all around great guy Jay.  If you haven't met Jay, well then....you haven't lived.  He's an awesome brother, and it's been such a great thing having him with us now. If you'd like to meet him, then come out to a show.  Speaking of shows....We've got some cool stuff coming up, a tour with our friends Nevertheless, Ruth, and Deas Vail this month (June) and a little in July, and in between we're playing a ton of festivals.  We're doing a short run with Spoken and Ilia in September, and then we're doing a full east coast/ eastern half of the country tour with Eleventyseven in October!!!!  In fact, if you would like to help us make it out to your neck of the woods, then email me at wavorlymatt@gmail.com and give me some contact info for your local church, venue, club, bar, whatever.  We just wanna see you!!  And i bet the guys in 11ty7 would like to meet you too. 
So...I guess that's good for this one.  If you guys have anything you'd like to talk about, then let's talk.  Feel free to ask me questions or whatever...I've got plenty of time on my hands to think about stuff.  And trust me, not much goes on in this little Mississippi noggin of mine. 

so yeah, thanks for reading.
-matt

Saturday, June 07, 2008

... And So It Begins

Well, this is my first JfH blog post. I've been on staff here since sometime in 2004. I was at Creation and somewhere along the way picked up a sticker promoting this very website. The rest, as they say, is history. When I'm not expanding my musical mind, I'm the Youth Leader at the local Free Methodist Church. I'm going to school and working towards becoming an ordained pastor. It's pretty exciting times for me. I also play bass guitar and do some landscaping to really pay the bills.

I'm excited about this JfH blog. It'll give you guys an opportunity to get to know some of those people whose reviews you hate love! We're gearing up for a Summer of good tunes too. The bands are gearing up to start the festival circuit. I'll be attending Creation NE with my youth group in tow this year as well as this fest called Found Festival. It's in this little spit of a town called Spartansburg in Northwest PA. Spartansburg is probably more well-known for their amish than anything else, so it's pretty intriguing that a fest would crop up there. They last had it two years ago with primarily local talent, but they're bringing in Disciple and Seventh Day Slumber this go around... did I mention that it's free? Pretty amazing if you ask me.

If you happen to be attending either of those fests, look me up and give me a nod.

Catch ya next time, friends.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

I Really Like Brownies

This fish my mom has...it looks like it's always dead.  It doesn't do anything.  Except float.  Stupid fish.

Issues.  Issues a-plenty.  Oh wait...sorry, I meant tissues.  Tissues a-plenty.  Allergy season is upon us. I mean, for me, allergy season is every season.  All the times.  (I'm not a good writer - more specifically, I'm not good at translating what I'm thinking/feeling into words/blogs, so just kinda bear with me, if you would be so kind, good sir/madam).

I hate when people hate a certain style of music because it "sounds like everything else".  It's really dumb.  For instance, I know people that listen to all kinds of music, from classic rock (The Doors, The Beatles, Stevie Ray Vaughn) to 90s alternative (Fastball, Harvey Danger, Semisonic), to old school heavy metal (Judas Priest and...whoever else falls into that category).  And even a lot of modern stuff (Death Cab For Cutie, James Blunt, etc.).  But when it comes to the modern punk rock/emo and modern hard/metalcore stuff, it all "sounds the same".  Anberlin and Taking Back Sunday "sound the same".  Underoath and Showbread "sound the same".  I could go on and on.

It bothers me because these people say that ignorantly.  I understand where they're coming from.  A lot of today's good bands are similar sounding.  But that's genres.  Those bands are divided into genres, and these genres have specifics.  Punk has specifics, so it's all gonna have similarities.  Emocore has specifics, so all bands that fall under that category are also gonna have similarities.  But if one takes the time to actually listen to each band, and not just write them off as the same thing they've already heard, when they get past the genre-specific similarities, they will hear differences.  Ska is one of the easiest genres to write off, but listen to The O.C. Supertones and Five Iron Frenzy and try to tell me they sound exactly alike.  It's kinda funny sometimes though, because I know if I heard some of the stuff they were listening to, without actually listening to it, there would be a lot of bands I couldn't tell apart.  I wouldn't be able to tell the Electric Light Orchestra apart from the Steve Miller Band.  Or Judas Priest from Ratt.  I'm just being honest.  (Be, be honest, be be be honest)

It also bothers me because they don't give the bands a chance, and therefore miss out on some truly great artists.  Sadly, some of these people will never give Emery and their musical beauty a chance.  And Secret & Whisper will just always take a back seat, because they've "heard it before".

I guess what I want to get across is this: a band doesn't have to create something new or play something different to be good.  I mean, creativity is key in writing truly good songs, but does creativity necessarily equal new or untouched?  Take for example, Children 18:3.  There's a lot of stuff on their debut that's been heard before.  Some punk rock, and a couple times they venture into ska-ish stuff, but it's basically all stuff that's been heard before.  Social Distortion and Sublime come to mind.  But it's still quite a fantastic CD, despite the inevitable sounds-likes.

Sigh.  That's my ranting.  I guess it's not really a rant.  I'm just over-opinionated.  Or I'm bothered by trivial matters?  Call it what you will, but give a band a chance before you go calling it "everything else".

(For the record, I DO believe there are a lot of bands that sound exactly alike.  I admit that I fall into my own area of accusation sometimes, having never actually given some bands a chance, but a lot I have, and they sound the same to me.  For the sake of not starting a riot, I will leave these bands unnamed, so take THAT!)

 


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