SATELLITES AND SIRENS "Blood, Sweat, and Rock ‘n Roll Tour" BLOG 5:
We’re currently in the middle of a break from the Blood, Sweat, and Rock ‘n Roll Tour, and I’m sitting here enjoying the beautiful weather at my kitchen table in Nashville, TN. Yep, I’m currently enjoying the weather by simply observing the cloudless sky, sunshine, and the mild temperature. You can thank my handy laptop battery for being nearly empty of charge just as I was going to go out onto my backyard deck to actually enjoy the weather outside. Instead, I’m tethered by a power cord to my laptop. It’s just as well, though, as I’m actually very sick right now. Yesterday, rather than attend church, I spent the morning in an Urgent Care Clinic getting checked out for some serious ear pain that started gradually on Saturday during the day, and then overnight, proceeded to become the most excruciating ear pain I can remember ever having. I did a little detective work Saturday night on webMD and determined that I must have an ear infection. Well, I was even more correct than I could have bargained for, as I’ve been diagnosed with not only one ear infection, but two ear infections and a sinus infection. Soooo, now I’m on a multitude of drugs that are going to help get me back into fighting (or, more accurately, performing) shape very soon.
I’m not so much annoyed as I am amused at my situation right now. I wouldn’t say I was amused early Sunday morning at 4am...but I kind of have to look back and just chuckle at it all. Frankly, I feel blessed that I’m sick during a break in the tour, rather than it happening while we’re out driving from city to city. That would present a whole different challenge to our touring experience. I guess I can say that in the last 24 hours I’ve managed to get a positive frame of mind on this whole situation.
I’ll admit that I was pretty ticked at God at 4am on Sunday for me being sick on what I believed was going to be a fantastic day off. I mean, my ear hurt so bad. It felt like someone was sticking a knife in my ear. I’ve had some pretty serious accidents/injuries in the past, and this one ranks right up there with some of the worst pain I’ve ever felt. Either way, even during the pain, I realized how dumb I was being for telling God that I thought it was ridiculous that I had to be up at 4am surfing the internet to try to figure out what in the world was wrong with me. It reminded me that our ways are not His ways. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not starting some debate on whether He caused me to be sick or not, but it reminded me that sometimes I really do get frustrated at situations that I don’t understand...Some more serious than others, but I’m known to get frustrated if things aren’t going as I had planned. My guess is that I’m not the only one out there that is guilty of this. I’ve talked before on blogs about trusting God, and I’m starting to see a theme of trust in what God is teaching me these days, and this latest incident has further reminded me that God really does want us to come to Him in times of frustration. I firmly believe that He won’t leave us out in the dark, and that He does have our best interests in mind. I’m constantly reminded of this verse in Matthew 11:28-29 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find rest for your souls.”
As we’ve wrapped up the first half of the tour, I want to say that it’s been a privilege sharing the stage every night with Disciple and Decyfer Down. Both bands are full of guys that are not only passionate about their art, but about Jesus and spreading His word. Definitely check out both bands if you haven’t yet.
Here are a few photo highlights of the tour thus far... and yes...wearing shorts is a highlight.
ME IN MOTION "SANCTUS REAL SPRING TOUR" BLOG DAY 12: Arrogance
We got to make a short stop at Mt. Rushmore last week.I had been before as a kid, but my memories were a bit blurry.It was right on the way, so we decided to stop and take a peak.As we drove up the mountain and gazed upon the chisled faces,I was in awe at the fact that human beings could actually carve something so massive.After reading all about the process of how it was accomplished, it was truly unbelievable.400 laborers were involved.Dymamite was involved.Lots of Dynamite.It cost $989,992.32 The Sculpture was started by Gutzon Borglum in 1939, and was completed until under the supervision of his son, Lincoln.Though I was truly amazed by the scultpture,a quote stuck in my head as we watched an informative video.A Critic by the name of Matthew Glass scorned Borglum and said,“What arrogant stone carver could possibly intrude upon God’s mountain sculpture?” I started thinking about all the amazing things we humans can actually create.Skyscrapers and helicopters,iPods and digital cameras, yet nothing will ever hold a candle to God’s creation.A photograph can get close…but to actually see that beautiful sunset with your own eyes is a thousand times better!I began to think of Job and when he got into and argument with God. This was God’s response to Job-
“Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand. Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know! Who stretched a measuring line across it?On what were its footings set, or who laid its cornerstone-while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy? Who shut up the sea behind doors when it burst forth from the womb, when I made the clouds its garment and wrapped it in thick darkness,when I fixed limits for it and set its doors and bars in place,when I said, 'This far you may come and no farther;here is where your proud waves halt'?
I think we all tend to have times of arrogance in our lives.Sometimes we think we have it all together and need to tell everyone else how it should be.Sometimes we get so confident in our own accomplishments that we lose sight of the source,the one who gave us the ability to create, sculpt, write, build…Don’t forget that God is the source.He is the Creator, and only through him is anything possible.
ME IN MOTION "SANCTUS REAL SPRING TOUR" BLOG 11: MARCH 26 2010
Sitting in our dressing room in Kansas City. Had a great show tonight here (see pics at bottom), and I'm just writing to let you know how exciting a week it has been for MIM, as a lot of you already know.
This past Tuesday, we finally released our first record to stores, and got to do a uStream chat with some of you guys last night as well. This has been such a long process of making this record, and it's just a great feeling to finally have it come to fruition. We'd love to hear from any of you on how you're liking it, and what your favorite songs are, if you get a chance to leave us a comment!
Patience is definitely something that I've had to learn in this process over the last few years. As the band has progressed, we've undergone many changes on the industry side of things, going from label to label, and finally landing at a great place we are now proud to call our family :) (CENTRICITY MUSIC) After all this, I'm so happy and grateful for the way things have worked out and how much we've learned in this whole process. It reminds me how much a lot of the time, our timing with what our wishes for in life, often differ from God's timing. And at the end of the day, God's timing is always best. Ecclesiastes 3:11 says:
"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end."
This is a bit of a scary verse when reading it at first glance, especially the last line. Is it simply saying that it is impossible for us to ever comprehend what God's plan is? After thinking about it, I believe that is true. How can we, as humans ever know what God is really up to behind the scenes? And how can we really expect ourselves to see the big picture, when we are a "speck" in the spectrum of eternity? I've had so many things happen in life that have worked out for my ultimate good, but in the moment, I can remember questioning "What in the world was God letting me walk through it for?" Never once, have I ended up wishing things had worked out my way, instead of God's. Even in the case of MIM, we probably would have wished for our CD to be out 2 years ago, but after going through all of the processes we had to deal with, and facing the hang-ups that every band deals with at some point, we are all very excited for where God has us, and are even continually walking in faith, that His timing is really best for everyone.
Maybe today, you're struggling with having the patience to walk through a season of your life, that just seems almost endless, like you're in the midst of a black tunnel with no light ahead. I just want to encourage you today, that nothing is meaningless. As much as you've heard it said before, I'll still repeat it, because it is so true, but God has a purpose and a plan for everything that we go through! It's just up to us to turn over control and trust Him completely that He knows far better than us what He is doing. Maybe say a little prayer right now and ask God for the patience and the endurance to endure whatever it is you're going through, and thank Him that He is the God of the bigger picture. :)
ME IN MOTION "SANCTUS REAL SPRING TOUR" BLOG DAY 10: Fika
Fika is a swedish word that we learned last summer in Kramfors.Fika is basically a coffee break with friends.We had some of the best coffee ever while we were in Europe and met some amazing people.Tonight I enjoyed some coffee with my wife and some friends and was reminded how good it is to be home and enjoy time with loved ones.
I think we Americans can really neglect our ‘Fika’ time and focus too much on work.Most other cultures place a much bigger emphasis on enjoying life and each other’s company and less time trying to succeed or climb to the top.Whether that’s the top of the class, the top of the corporate ladder, or the top of the charts,we always seem to be climbing.We tend to focus so much on the next rung that we forget to look around and take in the view.I know this all too well as being on the road can be so busy.Our schedule is sometimes so packed that the only thing that can possibly stop us is some sort of mechanical malfunction in the van, a flat tire, or an empty gas tank.I think God throws things our way from time to time so he can get our attention.Sometimes an afternoon spent in the lobby of Discount Tire is the only time I can stop and read, or just think.
I am so greatful to be home right now and enjoy a break from the road.As I look at the cup of coffee in front of me I am reminded of how much God pours his love into me. He always fills my cup to overflowing.Through time with friends and family I can see him smiling down on my little life.I can see good things all around me and hope you can too.I was reminded of Psalm 23 and the part that says,‘my cup runeth over’ stuck inmy head.I remembered learning this as a child and went back to the King James Version because it is sort of nostalgic, and poetic.Take a break from your busyness and read through Psalm 23:
The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the LORD for ever.
P.S. this is an exciting week for us as our CD will finally be released to stores!Join us Thursday night @ 6pm CST for a live stream here:
SATELLITES AND SIRENS "Blood, Sweat, and Rock ‘n Roll Tour" BLOG 4:
One of the great advantages of being on tour is that on days off we can take in the sights if our hearts so desire. Welp, this week we had an off day between a couple of dates and while we were mozying our way along to Phoenix, it occurred to us that the Grand Canyon wasn’t so far out of our way. Out of all of us in the van (four band guys, and Marty, our merch guy), only Jonathan and I had ever actually laid our eyes on that crazy natural wonder. We did a little math in our meager heads and found that it would only set us back a few hours, and that it would be worth it. However, I will say it was pretty funny that Jonathan and I were like, “Guys, you’ve never seen anything like this. No picture does it justice.” You could see it in their tired faces that they were going to go along with it, but that they weren’t completely convinced that it would be worth our time. Given the fact that we really didn’t have much else to do, they went along with it, and we went for it. If you’ve ever been there, you know that the drive up to it from Flagstaff isn’t the most stimulating drive. Granted, it’s much more fun to look at than your standard Tennessee terrain, but it certainly doesn’t leave you with the impression that you’re about to drive upon the largest chasm in the US. At any rate, we pull into the parking lot and I’m just waiting to see the faces of the rest of the guys when they actually see the Canyon. It’s a bit of a walk from the parking lot, but as we made our way to the edge you slowly, but surely, began to see the width, depth, and breadth of it all. It really is breathtaking, and sure enough each of the guys pretty much had their jaw on the ground looking out across it all. If you’ve never been there, you owe it to yourself to make the trip if you’re ever in Arizona. You really will not be disappointed. Make sure you bring your cameras and video cameras with you. It’s amazing. We were lucky enough to get there about an hour before sunset, so we got to see all the colors of the sunset out across the Grand Canyon, and it truly has to be one of the most beautiful sights one can see on this fine planet.
While we were looking out across the Grand Canyon I was reminded of how ridiculously big God is. Despite how amazing of a site that is, God has made it clear that we are his most precious creation, we are His love. If that is the case, why do we find it so hard to trust Him? I mean, really, we all have areas in our lives where we find it so difficult to trust in where He is leading us. Whether it’s work, finances, relationships, really anything...we continue to stumble in our trust. In Matthew 17 Jesus says, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” We don’t have to have faith the size of the Grand Canyon, or even the size of your car, God says that if our faith is even the size of a mustard seed, than we’re getting somewhere. It’s hard to comprehend really. It reminded me that it’s not how hard I try, but how much I’m willing to give myself up for Him, how much I’m willing to sacrifice my short-lived desires for His guidance that won’t lead me astray. When I looked down into the depths of the Grand Canyon and out at the Arizona sunset as it cast its shadows across the canyon, I knew that my faith in Him grew just in seeing the beauty of His design.
ME IN MOTION "SANCTUS REAL SPRING TOUR" BLOG 9: MARCH 20 2010, 11:06 AM
I think it's funny sometimes how I have nothing that I think is exciting to blog about, and then 10 minutes later, it's a completely different story...
So we pulled into Waukesha, WI a little bit ago, which is the last show on this run before we get to go home for a short break. Unloaded the trailer, and then me and Josh (our road manager) were going to drop the trailer in the other side of the parking lot. Now for those of you weather enthusiasts, you will know that it has been snowing for a little while this morning, and has formed a nice little layer of ice on every road, which caused several accidents we passed on the way here. This parking lot was no exception.
We backed the trailer up to a nice spot near the edge of the parking lot, and dropped it onto our usual cement block, only to find it slide completely backwards on the ice, and the trailer started rolling. I was turned the other way and heard a crazy scraping noise and Josh screaming, "Get the block!" So as I turned around, he was holding onto the tongue of the trailer to try and stop it, to no avail, and it was heading straight for a ditch, which would have been a nightmare for many reasons, had it fallen off the side...I did the only thing possible, which was to run as fast as I could to grab that concrete block and throw it behind one of the wheels of the trailer. And as it finally came to a halt, we breathed a sigh of relief! I didn't even know what had happened in this span of about 15 seconds, until after, and then I realized we didn't put a block of wood behind one of the tires when we dropped the trailer, thus, why it fell off the concrete block and slid down the parking lot on the ice. We didn't even notice it was on any incline until it started sliding.
Funny how life can do that to you sometimes, not just in huge, scary ways like this, but even in the little things. When you aren't prepared, and are thrown a crazy curveball, everything starts to slide downhill. The more I think about it, there is a really good lesson that can be learned from this, and can be played out in any situation.
"...Be prepared. You're up against far more than you can handle on your own. Take all the help you can get, every weapon God has issued, so that when it's all over but the shouting you'll still be on your feet. Truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and salvation are more than words. Learn how to apply them. You'll need them throughout your life. God's Word is an indispensable weapon. In the same way, prayer is essential in this ongoing warfare. Pray hard and long. Pray for your brothers and sisters. Keep your eyes open. Keep each other's spirits up so that no one falls behind or drops out." (EPH 6:13-18 MSG)
A lot of you have read this scripture about putting on the "armor of God" before, but I think this is often one of the most misunderstood verses, and thus, the most disregarded ones. Today was a great reminder for me about what it means. All that God wants us to do is to be prepared, for anything that comes our way. If we have one part of this "armor" missing and if we're not in constant prayer, than we will be taken by surprise and start to fall backwards when an attack comes our way in life. I'm thankful that God knows we can't handle these things on our own, so He's given us everything we need to stand up under whatever we're going thru. It's often just a matter of praying and asking for it. :)
Does something inside keep telling you, You were meant for more than this? Do you ever wonder if you are becoming all the Lord has planned for you to be? Many believers today struggle with discouragement, depression, and anxiety because they know there is much more that the Father has for them, but cannot overcome the disappointments and burdens of life on their own. So they settle for less than God’s best and never experience the joy and fulfillment that is available to them. Thankfully, you don’t have resign yourself to the ―settled-for life.
My goal with this new book, How to Reach Your Full Potential for God, was to demonstrate how our heavenly Father has worked in my life so others can look beyond their own mistakes, hurts, and failures to how He sees them—as a person full of possibilities and potential. This is because when we view ourselves as He does, we realize that He has gifted each of us with distinctive personalities, skill sets, abilities, dreams, and talents to achieve His unique plans for our life. As Ephesians 2:10 instructs, ―We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. Our exciting journey to a wonderful life of purpose and promise begins when we understand and accept this.
God wants you to discover all the dreams and blessings He has for you, and He is willing to move heaven and earth to help you walk in His will. The Father sets you free from any remaining bondage to sin and despair, and reveals your wonderful identity as His child—full of hope and purpose (Rom. 8:18–21). How does He do so? By teaching you how to have a clean heart, a clear mind, a balanced schedule, a healthy body, right relationships, and the willingness to submit to His commands in faith.
Of course, there are many hurdles to overcome—issues we may deal with on a daily basis. Our inadequate perspective, feelings of low self-esteem, tendency to compare ourselves to others, self-imposed limitations, fears of disappointment or failure, and even laziness can hinder us from becoming all God created us to be. These are obstacles that we generally cannot overcome on our own. But the Lord can. And He will give us triumph over each one if we will trust and obey Him.
Are you in danger of living the ―settled-for‖ life? Do you continually run into the same conflicts and heartaches? Have you stopped progressing in your finances, relationships, or walk with God? The Father wants to help you surmount the hurdles and experience the extraordinary, victorious life you were created for. He ―is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us‖ (Eph. 3:20). So trust Him to help you reach your full potential.
Copyright 2010 In Touch Ministries, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org
ME IN MOTION "SANCTUS REAL SPRING TOUR" BLOG DAY 8: Mocha Club
Dexter here writing from Kalona, IA: the home of ‘Kalona Organics’ and delicious “Cultural Revolution” yogurt.We’ve been on the road with Sanctus Real for a couple weeks now.It’s been one of the best tours I’ve ever been on.Everything has gone so smoothly and everyone on the tour has been a breeze to get along with.We haven’t even had a flat tire yet! (knock on wood).Along with the bands, Sammy Adebiyi has shared the stage with us each night speaking for an organization known as “Mocha Club”.
Mocha Club is an online community of people who are giving their time and money to support relief and development projects in Africa.The challenge each night has been to donate $7 a month, (the cost of 2 mochas) so that people in Africa can have basic needs fulfilled.The main goal is focused on getting these people clean water.
I’ve been talking with Sammy throughout the tour about his story.He is originally from Africa: Nigeria to be exact and came to the States when he was 18 yrs old.He told me his parents enrolled him in a college in Toledo, Ohio, handed him $2,000 cash before giving him a plane ticket.Once he arrived at the airport in New York, it was totally his responsibility to find a way to get to Ohio (a place he had never even heard of),find a place to stay, and begin studying in the states.His parents told him “Ask a police officer how to get to Ohio…surley he can help you.” Soon enough,With the help of a few strangers, Sammy found himself on a Greyhound headed towards Toledo.
Sammy already spoke English, but he spoke British English which was cause for much confusion.Sammy told me he experienced so much culture shock and struggled with finances when his cashflow ran dry.This guy had never even seen snow, didn’t have a coat, and was fighting to find his place as he was thrust into a completely foreign world.
I was fascinated by Sammy’s story and asked him question after question.He went on to tell me that through all this confusion was when he really looked to God.It was in the lowest and scariest times in his life that he could only cry to his creator and found peace in trusting him.He is incredibly passionate about his involvement with Mocha Club, as it hits so close to home.If you have a second, please visit mochaclub.org and get involved.There are so many projects that need funding and help from everyday people like you and me.If you can, come to a show on the Sanctus Real Spring Tour.Dates are posted at meinmotion.com.
More Like Falling In Love Part 3: Why Love Scares Us
It ought to be
More like falling in love
Than something to believe in
More like losing my heart
Than giving my allegiance
Caught up, called out, come take a look at me now
It’s like I’m falling in love…
When I first got the idea for this song, it seemed like an obvious enough truth that God prefers our passionate devotion instead of cool intellectual assent, that he desires the kind of worshipful obedience that overflows from a relationship with him instead of the obligatory obedience based on fear and attempts at self-sufficiency.
It seemed like a no-brainer – maybe almost too obvious if anything.And yet I’ve been surprised to receive more push back on this song than any other – criticism that the song is based too much on love.Don’t get me wrong, I’m not necessarily bothered or threatened by this - by and large most people have embraced the song, but I’ve been perplexed by the handful of people who have expressed concern over it.
I guess I could understand it if they assume that the kind of love I’m talking about in my song is based on emotionalism - warm fuzzy feelings about God, reducing Him to a cosmic boyfriend/girlfriend. Maybe they think the love I’m talking about here is the same kind of thing our culture tries to pass off as “love”: self-centered, hormone induced, emotionally based romantic Hollywood “love” without commitment or backbone.
Somebody recently asked my wife in casual conversation if she still felt I was her “soul mate” or if she wanted to “switch it up” and see if there was someone else out there for her.I don’t think this girl was intentionally trying to undermine and destroy our marriage, but the question revealed how much our culture has distorted what “love” is, perverting it into a matter of selfish fulfillment instead of a life-long bond meant to daily ask of two people to die to themselves, their selfishness and sin nature, and serve the one they are bound to.
My friend Andrew Peterson says that marriage is God’s way of helping us die a little each day to our spouse because God knows we aren’t man enough to do it all at once. When we choose to fall in love with a person, we are in a way choosing the person that we will die for – and not the kind of death where we take a bullet. As heroic as that may be, it is in some ways easier than the more difficult business of a lifetime of dying to our own selfishness and pride, dying to our need to be right, the need to have the upper hand.
If we don’t think of love as being a force that takes hold of us and asks us to give our whole life, then I can understand why we might be troubled by a song that champions salvation and discipleship as something more like falling in love than anything else. But if we know what falling in love really means, then we would rightly understand it as an event that will consume our whole life, as something as terrifying as it is wonderful.
And I wonder if this is the real issue… We are afraid of real love and flee from it, for love, if nothing else, is terrifying. Love, like no other force, will cut to the core and peel back the layers, exposing our hearts. Love asks us to trust, it draws us out of our protective hiding places, it requires vulnerability. We are defenseless against a Love that won’t stop until it sets us free, and freedom is nearly as terrifying as love.
Most of us have been prisoners so long – since the day we were born – that we’re like the inmates who come to love and depend on the predictability of the walls of their prison cells. Freedom is disruptive and represents a new way of living that is beyond our control – and the more I think about it, the more I wonder if control is what’s at stake here.When we love and allow ourselves to be loved, we give up control.
My wife shared a poem with me recently called “The Man Watching” by Rainer Maria Rilker about a coming storm. Here’s part of it:
What we choose to fight is so tiny! What fights us is so great! If only we would let ourselves be dominated as things do by some immense storm, we would become strong too, and not need names…
When we win it's with small things, and the triumph itself makes us small. What is extraordinary and eternal does not want to be bent by us. I mean the Angel who appeared to the wrestlers of the Old Testament: when the wrestler's sinews grew long like metal strings, he felt them under his fingers like chords of deep music.
Whoever was beaten by this Angel (who often simply declined the fight) went away proud and strengthened and great from that harsh hand, that kneaded him as if to change his shape. Winning does not tempt that man. This is how he grows: by being defeated, decisively, by constantly greater beings.
Love is the greater thing that wants to defeat us, the “magnificent defeat of the human soul at the hands of God” as Frederick Buechner says.By insisting on the legalistic and intellectual terms of our religion, are we trying to maintain control of the relationship – making our salvation, sanctification, and redemption about what we do?Are we refusing to be defeated by Love? Are we refusing to be set free?
It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.
Mark my words! I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no value to you at all. Again I declare to every man who lets himself be circumcised that he is obligated to obey the whole law. You who are trying to be justified by law have been alienated from Christ; you have fallen away from grace. But by faith we eagerly await through the Spirit the righteousness for which we hope. For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision has any value. The only thing that counts is faith expressing itself through love.
ME IN MOTION "SANCTUS REAL SPRING TOUR" BLOG 7: Honesty
So this blog is going to be one of honesty, one that you probably don't read every day. Hopefully you all are cool with me opening my heart a bit for you to see. I don't have a lot to say, other than, sometimes being on the road is a mind and emotion-numbing experience. It comes in phases, and has really kicked in on me for some reason this week. Being in a van for 17 hours at a time, getting out, unloading, meeting tons of people, maybe napping for an hour or 2, playing the show, meeting more people, then packing up, and doing it all over again for 3 years in a row, can burn a person out pretty quickly. And for me, personally, I have to fight to not let it get robotic. What happens for me is that I feel like I fall into a funk and feel a bit lethargic. And I'm almost sad to admit all of this because we are doing exactly what we feel like God wants us to do, and doing what we love, in traveling and playing music, sharing a real ministry with so many cool people.
I think this may be the same for some of you out there, but just translated into an every-day life context. Maybe you're feeling a bit burned out with working the same job day in and day out, or going to school just feels like a pointless routine. Whatever it is, I think all of us can relate with this feeling at some point, and have to fight together to keep joy, passion, and a good attitude in life. As Christians, I think sometimes we feel like we can't admit these feelings, like maybe we always have to look like we always have it together, when at times, we really don't feel a thing. The same can also be said of being in a relationship. A lot of you married readers out there can probably attest to the fact that, even though marriage is one of the greatest gifts from God, if not the greatest, there are a lot of days when you really have to fight to keep love alive. That's why if relationships aren't rooted in true love, and something much deeper than a day-to-day feeling, they will fall apart, marriage or friendship equally alike.
But you know what I've realized at the end of the day, is that it's always best to keep an honest perspective, and to even know that there will be days when the "happy, fuzzy" feelings evade us. And that's ok. It takes humility for a person to admit that they don't have it altogether. This is an especially scary thing for me, because there is so much pressure that comes with being the lead singer for a Christian Rock band, that I, for one, have to "have all the answers".
But, the one thing I can conclude after all of these thoughts, and I hope encourages you as much as it does me, is to remember that God is consistent beyond all our feelings or circumstances. I'm always reminded of Job, who probably had more days than most when he didn't "feel" like loving God. And secondly, I always think back on our Savior Jesus, who, if He lived His life based on feelings, probably would have not went to the cross for us. He, after all, was completely human and felt the same things that we do. So, together, let's not be afraid to admit our feelings are real, they have a place, and aren't wrong to have. But let's also together, remember to even look past our feelings and know that they pass quicker than we realize it. We have a God who is way beyond all of them.
SATELLITES AND SIRENS "Blood, Sweat, and Rock ‘n Roll Tour" BLOG 3:
Sometimes being on tour brings about tragedies and uncontrollable laughter. They seem on the surface like they could never be involved together in the same incident. Well, ladies and gentleman, we managed to live through such an incident this last week. It provided both the most fear and the most humor that any of us have endured yet on tour. The story goes as follows....
Setting: Dodge City, Kansas.
It seemed like an innocent enough turn onto such an unsuspecting road. We were only on said road for about a 1/4 mile when we realized that we had turned the wrong direction. Thanks to our sometimesunreliable GPS (aptly named Hannah), we were headed in the wrong direction. We went ahead and drove until we found a place that had enough space for us to turn around our van and trailer. We found such a place and headed back in the direction we were supposed to be going (we’re looking at you Hannah). As we’re cruising along at a leisurely, and legal pace of 30mph, we see our destination in the distance...how could Hannah have been so wrong? Just as we were all talking about how close we were.........we were suddenly airborn!!! That’s completely off the pavement folks, in a full-size van and trailer, no less. We didn’t see it coming at all. It was the most unassuming intersection you’ve ever seen, but apparently it has the BIGGEST dip in all of the United States, because it sent us completely airborn.It was the craziest feeling, realizing that somehow we were flying through the air (cue up image of Harry and his dog van flying through the air in “Dumb and Dumber”). When we landed, we all started screaming like little girls, and were laughing hysterically. Only then did Jonathan look back and realize that our trailer was now somehow pointed directly towards the ground, rather than riding horizontally to the ground. Problem, big problem. That brought the laughter to a halt very quickly. So, we pulled over to the side of the road to inspect what we figured was just an unhitched trailer, only to find that it
wasn’t unhitched at all. As it turns out, it was still hitched, but the metal piece that hitches to the trailer was completely bent (see picture below). Our trailer was basically dragging on the ground. Now picture the four of us surveying the damage, and looking at each other amazed...and then bursting into laughter yet again. How in the world did that whole scene just happen? Our trailer is not only busted in Dodge City, Kansas, but only a quarter mile from our destination! What are we going to do for the rest of the tour?!?! Despite the busted nature of the trailer, we did manage to limp our way along to the church. As we pulled in, we were immediately spotted by other band members, crew members, and church volunteers alike...and more uncontrollable laughter ensued... When out of nowhere the youth pastor walks up and says, “Oh, I can take that to my parents farm and have that fixed up better than new, and I’ll have it back to you within a couple hours.” Of course we accepted, and sure enough, two hours later it was back to us fixed up better than new. Apparently, it can now handle more moments of being completely airborn, and it’ll likely be able to handle the trauma. We are now indebted to you Dodge City, Kansas and Dodge City Church of the Nazarene. You have a place in our hearts for as long as we live, because this story is going to live on and be spoken about for generations to come :)
Besides that amazing story, I have a challenge for you guys out in Jesus Freak Hideout land. I was reading in Ephesians and I found a verse that I feel needs to be applied more and more in our lives. Eph. 4:29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their eeds, that it may benefit those who listen. Why is it so much easier to cut each other down, rather than encourage each other? I know it’s easy to poke fun rather than build each other up. But what if we started making a choice to build each other up instead of poking fun? Granted, sometimes a little ribbing is in order...but why is it so difficult to tell someone how much you appreciate them and their gifts? Let’s make it a challenge, both for you, and for me, to be an encouragement for those around us, even when we don’t feel like it. We all deserve to be built up not only in our walk with God, but in our relationships with each other. We love you guys, and if any of you get a chance to come out to the Blood, Sweat and Rock ‘n Roll tour with us, Disciple and Decyfer Down, make sure you come and say “hi” to us. We’d love to chat:)
Our sad trailer before she was fixed by the amazing folks of Dodge City, Kansas....
What does Nevertheless, Capital Lights, Delirious?, and Peter Furler all have in common? They all exited the music scene in 2009. However, while all of those losses were significant, the news that Falling Up (one of my most favorite bands) had disbanded was truly demoralizing. Their all-time best album will always be disputed because of their various style shifts over the course of their career. While Crashings appealed to more generic rock lovers, and Fangs certainly pleased fans of experimental concept albums, arguably their most balanced act was Captiva. The well-polished sound was a near perfect union of Dawn Escapes' edgy alternative music and Exit Lights' diverse, ambient sound. Although mysterious, Falling Up beautifully weaved spiritual themes into Captiva's lyrics to appeal to a larger demographic. While Crashings might have been the most accessible Falling Up album, those newly interested in looking back at the band's history should start with Captiva. - Nathaniel Schexnayder
Our synopsis: "A complex alternative rock album which highlights the pinnacle of Falling Up's career." (Recommended by JFH's Nathaniel Schexnayder) Perfect For: Hope, Mystery Song Highlights: "A Guide To Marine Life," "Captiva," "Arc To Archtilles," and "The Dark Side Of Indoor Track Meets."
So, what are your thoughts on and experiences with the album Captiva? Do you recommend it? If so, why?
ME IN MOTION "SANCTUS REAL SPRING TOUR" BLOG DAY 6: Guilty As Charged
I got a speeding ticket.
I’m angry about it.
I was going 69 in a 70.
That’s right, you heard me.
Apparently in the state of California the 55 mph truck restriction applies to any vehicle towing a trailer.
I cannot begin to express the complete and utter feeling of helplessness and frustration when I saw those police lights in the rear view mirror.
I don’t feel like I’m an unsafe driver.Actually,I feel like I’m a good driver.My bandmates might say otherwise, but I honestly feel like I’m a safe driver.I tried my best to remain calm.I even tried some small talk with the officer. He didn’t care.The law is the law and it’s black and white.Even though I feel like I wasn’t endangering anyone, I still have to pay the ticket.The worst part about it is I don’t even know how much it is.He’s going to mail it to me.
I don’t usually like to think in black and white.But one thing is true: I’m imperfect.I may think I’m a good person, and I may even be.But I’m still sinful deep down and am in need of God’s forgiveness.As the cop handed me the citation there was no way I could change what had happened.I was reminded that Jesus paid our “ticket”.He took the penalty for all our mistakes and paid the price.I’m still not happy about my ticket, but in the grand scheme of things it’s really not that big of a deal.After I received my ticket I got back on the highway and continued down the road.This time I set the cruise control at 55mph.
ME IN MOTION "SANCTUS REAL SPRING TOUR" BLOG 5: Just One Bolt
It's currently 6:10 AM. Back in the van for an early morning drive from Bakersfield to Sacramento where we are meeting up with some of the awesome people from Air 1 Radio. The past couple shows have been no exception to a great tour so far.
A few days ago, we were in Las Vegas, and one of our sway bars that help connect the trailer to our van and help stabilize it just snapped while we were driving down the road, and proceeded to make a rather loud scraping sound as I'm sure the metal bar was sparking along the asphalt. It sounded a lot worse than it probably was, but needless to say, we were stuck with a predicament.
We took the bars off for the time being, and since they help the back of our van not sag so much, it was riding pretty low after that. The next morning, we woke up with a mission to go find the piece that we needed which had snapped off, which was a simple U-Bolt. Should be an easy task to find such a small, straightforward piece. So we started at the obvious, Wal-Mart. No luck there. We walked over to LOWE'S. Certainly they would have them, we thought. But once again, after searching the whole store for about 45 minutes, we were out of luck. So we drove around for a while and found a Home Depot. Maybe they would have something that LOWE'S didn't. But no, once again, we were proved wrong. Ok, so we were starting to get a bit frustrated as our quest from this mythical U-Bolt took us to the next place, which usually has the answer to everything - Harbor Freight Tools. This place is a handyman's dream, so we were sure our search would end there.
A half hour later, we walked out of the door with our heads held not-so-high, as they had nothing remotely close to what we were looking for. We even talked to a guy in the Marines inside, and he tried to help us out, but to no avail.
So, it was really time we got our heads together and figured out what in the world we were supposed to do. We came to the conclusion that we needed to get to a Trailer Dealership/Repair Shop. So we got on the phones, and called what seemed like every place in Nevada, and none were open, as it was Saturday and we were quickly losing daylight.
The last stop of the day, was quite an overwhelming one, Bass Pro Shop. For those of you who aren't familiar with it, this place is the IKEA of fishing. They have fish radars, fishing boats, fishing attire, and $1000 fishing poles that will catch and even fry the fish for you (well, maybe not the last part).
So, we thought since they have trailers for the boats there, we'd finally be in luck. But once again, as it was probably 7 pm by this time, we walked out of that place empty-handed.
I thought to myself, how could just this one bolt be such a thorn in our sides? It's such a small piece, but it keeps the whole assembly together. Sometimes I think the same can be said of our lives and our faith. If we have one part of our life that is out of whack, or "broken", then the whole wheel doesn't turn right. I think as humans, we have the tendency to want to have control. We want to turn our lives over to God and entrust them into our Maker's hands, but we want to retain a small part of "our" lives. Whether it's a small corner of our lives that we don't want to let God run, a secret sin that we keep running back to, or a relationship that we know isn't where it should be, anything like this can throw our whole being into a mess.
Yesterday, we finally found what we were looking for, as we made it to a small trailer shop in Paso Robles, CA. We left that place with a totally complete trailer system, as they had exactly the part that we needed. What a good feeling that was to have working sway bars again...
Today, maybe you're feeling a little bit like this situation, having one small part of your life ruining the rest. I just want to encourage you to take the time right now to turn back to Jesus, who knows you better than anybody else ever will, and entrust your whole life back into His hands. Let him fix what needs fixed, and be exactly what you need.
SATELLITES and SIRENS "Blood, Sweat, and Rock ‘n Roll Tour" VLOG 1:
Here is our first Vlog, exclusive for Jesus Freak Hideout fans! We've been having a blast out on the road with the guys from Disciple & Decyfer Down and look forward to each night of the tour. Keep checking back for more blogs and vlogs from us!
“The One (I’m Fighting For)” is a song I wrote after hearing story after story from friends and fans who are going through really difficult times in their lives. I had this sense that so many of us as a society and as a culture were caught in this overwhelming heartache, the sense of loneliness, and the sense of despair. I wanted to write a song that spoke to all these people. A song that reminded them that they were not alone in whatever they were going through. Life can feel like a fight. Sometimes it can even seem like a battle. I wanted to paint this picture of God stepping into the ring with us to help us take on whatever we were going through. Hebrews 13: 5-6 says, “God has said, never will I leave you. Never will I forsake you. So we say with confidence the Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.”
You and I know that we are not alone, and we have the opportunity to go out into the world and share God’s love with everyone else. You know was well as I do that this world is hurting and looking for hope. Let’s tell them that they don’t need to go it alone. That God is there wanting to walk each step with us and willing to help us with each and every fight. As your driving in your car, or listening at home, I hope this song can be an encouragement to you if you are going through a rough time. I hope you can remember that you are not alone in your troubles. And for some of you, I hope that this song can be a reminder to show God’s love to the world around you.
ME IN MOTION "SANCTUS REAL SPRING TOUR" BLOG DAY 4: Enjoy The Ride
Ever been lost?Yeah,me too.Our GPS has been known to lead us astray a time or two.Of course I always like to blame that little touch screen device, even if there was a bit of user error involved.We had intentions of going to the beach to watch the seals today, but our plans changed.I typed in the city where we were planning on going and we started our trek to the coast.However,there was some breakdown in communication and I confused the name of the beach with the name of the city and after 45 minutes we ended up at a dead end.A little frustrating.
Today was a day off for us, so it didn’t really matter.We had no schedule to keep,and nothing planned.On the bright side,the drive was beautiful.We passed through the fertile Salinas River Valley and saw countless vineyards.The Rolling hills were covered in short little green sprouts of new grass and the winding road seemed to have not a care in the world.Cows were lazily grazing and strange looking mule deer perked up as we chugged along.As cliché as this sounds,this brief little trip reminded me that so often we get caught up in the destination and forget to enjoy the ride.In our lives we are constantly worrying or thinking about some goal ahead that we lose sight of the beauty all around us.
The Bible tells us not to worry.Matthew 6:34 says :
“Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
I got out of the van after we drove back into town and saw kids playing in the park.I just watched them play for a while, and tried to not worry.It was in a way theraputic to watch them.I know we all have a lot on our minds.We have a million things to do, everyday.Whatever you’re in the middle of right now-try not to forget that there is beauty all around you.Thank God for that, and let tomorrow worry about itself.
The Heart Behind The Song: “More Like Falling In Love” (verse 1)
Give me rules
I will break them
Show me lines
I will cross them
I need more than a truth to believe
I need a truth that lives, moves, and breathes
To sweep me off my feet
I (& Jason Ingram) wrote “More Like Falling In Love” in the classic form of the sermons I heard growing up, that begin with the “bad news” of the Old Testament before moving on to the good news of the gospel.Much of the “sermon” of this song is based on the book of Romans, especially verse 1 which is about what Paul has to say about the limits and true purpose of the law.
Paul says in chapter 3, “…no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin…” and that “sin, seizing the opportunity afforded by the commandment, produced in me every kind of covetous desire. For apart from law, sin is dead. Once I was alive apart from law; but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died.”
He’s telling us that the best that the law and our attempts at rule following could do is reveal that we are rule-breakers, sinners at our core, and therefore dead where we stand. He’s telling us the law alone is insufficient for saving us.
Paul goes on to say, “the law is holy and the commandment is holy, righteous and good” (Rom. 7:12).In other words, as a friend recently put it: there’s nothing wrong with the law, but it reveals what’s wrong with us. “We know that the law is spiritual; but I am unspiritual, sold as a slave to sin…For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out” (Rom. 7:14, 18). And then Paul blesses us by echoing all of our hearts when he says that what he wants to do, he doesn’t do, but instead he keeps doing what he hates. “What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?” (Rom. 7:24)
Who can’t relate to this?Paul says the law is like a mirror that forces us to see ourselves as we really are: profoundly broken, slaves to sin and unable to fix ourselves.And the harder I try to fix myself, the deeper I dig my own grave – it still ends in death.The truth is that if you give me rules, I will break them because at my core I’m a rule breaker.I need more than rules to be saved, but at least the rules do help me realize I need saving.
And I need more than a truth to believe.Pilate asks Jesus “what is truth?” and Jesus responds with a deafening silence that refuses to offer a defense as if his truth was just one more of any other truth claims in the world.He stands there, as Truth Himself, perhaps waiting to be recognized – not as a theory that can be debated or an idea for intellectual consumption, but as a person to be embraced by.Like Pilate, I need more than another truth to believe, I need THE living Truth – the Son of God – who lives, moves, and breathes. “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." (John 8:32)
“Thanks be to God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Paul nearly shouts, and we want to shout with him! “What the law was powerless to do…God did by sending his own Son” (Rom. 8:3). This is the good news of the gospel – we are saved! What we couldn’t do on our own with good intentions and rigorous rule keeping, God has done for us through Jesus Christ. “Now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known… This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe” (Rom. 3:21-22).
And what does it mean to believe?This is the main question I’m asking with this song.Does believing in Jesus mean merely believing the facts of who he is?Or is it more than that?As I said in my last blog, we’re told that even the demons believe, and tremble (James 2:19), so God is surely looking for more than just intellectual assent to the facts.So what is he looking for?
I believe that Jesus came to offer us more than facts and better information about who God is – information and facts rarely change our lives, at least not the way that falling in love does.And so we get to the heart of it: that Jesus is more than an idea, he’s a person. And he wants more than our mere obedience to rules, he wants our love, devotion, and to have relationship with us.And here is where the gospel turns into a wedding… where we accept his proposal and become his bride (Eph. 5:25-27), his beloved, his intent sealed with the Holy Spirit like a ring around our finger.
And what will a relationship make of us that rules couldn’t?
Well, for one thing it’s kind of like this: I hope my wife gives me a card on my birthday, but I don’t want her to do it out of obligation because it’s expected of her – that would be joyless drudgery for her and meaningless to me. I’d rather her get a card out of love for me, that her love would cause her to carefully pick out the perfect card, write something personal in it, and make sure I got it the day of my birthday.Either way – obligation or love - involves the sacrifice of driving into town, poring through the card section at Walmart, and taking the time to write something in it. Either motivation will get me a card, but only love will produce the result of my receiving a card that means something both to me and the one who gave it to me.
Love redefines the terms of the relationship, infusing our devotion to the law with passion and purpose – something we do for love rather than obligation.When done out of love, the law which once brought death and condemnation has a chance to make us alive again, because we do it out of delight.But it all starts with love, and a marriage proposal.
SATELLITES & SIRENS "Blood, Sweat, and Rock ‘n Roll Tour" BLOG 2:
It’s 11am, and I’m sitting in the lobby of our hotel here in San Antonio, TX and I can’t help but feel truly blessed to be able to play music and share God’s love to people every night. Each night we meet new and amazing people that also bless us much more than we feel like we could do for them. As an example, three young men came up to us after our show last night and asked us if they could pray for us. They asked us each what we would like prayer for, and they proceeded to pray into each of those needs. I can’t quite explain the feeling of being truly loved by complete strangers in such a genuine and Godly way. Their honesty and encouragement struck me, as I don’t doubt one bit that God set them in our path last night. These young men are on the front lines here in San Antonio, ministering to gang members and drug dealers, those that most folks would be wary of approaching. The fact that they would also come and take the time to minister and pray for a bunch of rag-tag musicians really struck a chord with me. It says in Matthew 18:19-20, “Again, I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my father in heaven. For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” In that moment in prayer with those men, I know God heard us, and heard our needs, and our hearts...and I know he is blessing each of those guys in ways that they don’t even know yet. Thank you San Antonio.
As for the tour thus far, we couldn’t be happier getting to know the guys in Disciple and Decyfer Down, and all the guys in the stage crew. Though, learning everyone’s names has proven to be a bit of a challenge. We’ve been having fun riding in our van quizzing ourselves on who is who. I’ve already been calling people by the wrong name, which has thankfully been more funny than awkward. I think for the time being I’ll stick with token “Hey Dude” or “Hey Man”, versus making myself look ridiculous (I’m really quite good at that). Although, I could just give everyone nicknames...hmmm. I’ll think on that one.
Thanks to everyone for tuning in to our tour blog again. Be blessed, and know that God loves you more than you can even know...which is a really difficult concept to grasp sometimes, myself included. He is faithful, He is true, and He’s excited to be a part of your life.
ME IN MOTION "SANCTUS REAL SPRING TOUR" BLOG 3: Out Of Control
Hey all! Sitting here in a Starbucks in beautiful Paso Robles, CA with a couple of our new friends from Above the Golden State. Super cool dudes! This tour has so far proved to be such a great group of people on the road. It's always awesome when we can pull up to a venue and feel a real sense of camaraderie with the other bands we are on tour with. And unfortunately, as many of you have already heard, one of the bands out here, Addison Road, has had more travel misfortune on this tour than any other I've ever heard of! They've had an RV breakdown about every day so far, followed by the entire thing catching fire along with the trailer and burning to the ground a couple days ago. Please send them your support and prayers, as we can understand when something like this happens, it can be very disheartening to be in ministry like this and stay strong.
To digress a bit, we've all had a bit of misfortune in one way or another on this run, nothing compared to what Addison Road has experienced, but nonetheless, here is my small bit of it.
We were doing an all-nighter drive from Albuquerque, NM to Chandler, AZ a few days ago, and it was about 8 AM when Tim pulled off to a rest stop to take some scenic pictures, which I have to admit, were quite picturesque. Dexter and Josh were asleep and I had woken up to go use the rest stop facilities. If you've seen our touring machine "VANBEARPIG", then you know the layout of how it's set up (Reference MIM Movie Monday # ). We have 2 full bench seats and a full double bed in the back with a spot underneath to sleep as well, which we have endeared "the hole". It is the most coveted sleeping spot in the van and Dexter was in it at the time. as I had just left the bed.
After walking outside to head back to the van, I quickly realized something. The van and the big black trailer, which are kind of hard to miss, were missing. At first I kind of laughed to myself and figured it was a prank and they had just pulled around the side or something. But after walking around the whole rest stop, I suspected that they didn't know I had even exited the vanand they just left. So, what does every American know to do in the case of such catastrophe, but to reach for the handy cell-phone and make a call. I reached for it, and of course, no cell phone. I had so conveniently left it in the van. Next, I realized that I had also taken my wallet out of my pocket, because I have this pet peeve where I could never ever sleep with its bulky mass bothering me. Perfect, so I couldn't even get a delicious, healthy snack from the vending machine. And then after walking around for a bit trying to figure out what I was going to do, reaching for my Carmex in my jacket pocket, I thought to myself "Great, I left my jacket in the van too".
What a predicament! I was so frustrated at the moment, because I thought it was inexcusable that this happened. Maybe if we were on a bus for this one it would be a different story, but in a van? This was just crazy! So, after wandering around for awhile and trying to figure out what to do, I found a nice lady who worked at the rest stop and she was kind enough to let me use her phone to call the guys in the van . Of course, the only numbers I could remember were for Dexter and Josh (our road manager), who were both asleep! I quickly saw that this is the downfall of cell phones, we never have to remember any numbersbut just look them up in our contacts instead. So, 5 voice mails and 20 calls later, I found myself still sitting therewearing this huge jacket that I borrowed from the lady, probably looking pretty stylish...
Long story short, I finally got a call back on her phone from Josh about 45 minutes later so they turned around and came back to get me, while I sat and learned from the nice lady about everything there was to know about the local area and its weather patterns.
So what is the moral of the story here? What conclusion can be drawn from all this? Well, the obvious, is to not get left at a rest stop. But even further than this, as I'm sitting here thinking about all the craziness that has happened on this tour with Addison Road and Sanctus Real (who had their trailer break off a few nights ago in the middle of a drive) I think it's loud and clear, anoften scary message that " we are NOT in control". I remember sitting at the rest stop feeling a bit helpless when I couldn't get a hold of anyone, had no money or jacket, and realized that it was out of my hands ....just like most things in life.
At the end of the day though, I've found it's a great thing that life really isn't in our hands, but instead, that God has control and is over everything that will ever happen to us. You've probably heard the questionor even asked it at one point or another, " why does a perfect God allow bad things to happen to good people?" I can even remember a lot of times in my life thinking this.
I'm not sure that I really have discovered a cut-and-dry answer to this question, nor that anyone really has either, even though many books have been written on the subject, sermons been preached, college classes been taught, and debates been held on the subject. But take a look at these verses written by Paul, who was no stranger to hard times, as he went thru sickness, hunger, imprisonment, and loneliness all for the sake of sharing Jesus' message. Read 2 Corinthians 1:3-11 with me:
The Rescue (FROM THE MSG)
3-5 All praise to the God and Father of our Master, Jesus the Messiah! Father of all mercy! God of all healing counsel! He comes alongside us when we go through hard times, and before you know it, he brings us alongside someone else who is going through hard times so that we can be there for that person just as God was there for us. We have plenty of hard times that come from following the Messiah, but no more so than the good times of his healing comfort—we get a full measure of that, too.
6-7 When we suffer for Jesus, it works out for your healing and salvation. If we are treated well, given a helping hand and encouraging word, that also works to your benefit, spurring you on, face forward, unflinching. Your hard times are also our hard times. When we see that you're just as willing to endure the hard times as to enjoy the good times, we know you're going to make it, no doubt about it.
8-11 We don't want you in the dark, friends, about how hard it was when all this came down on us in Asia province. It was so bad we didn't think we were going to make it. We felt like we'd been sent to death row, that it was all over for us. As it turned out, it was the best thing that could have happened. Instead of trusting in our own strength or wits to get out of it, we were forced to trust God totally—not a bad idea since he's the God who raises the dead! And he did it, rescued us from certain doom. And he'll do it again, rescuing us as many times as we need rescuing. You and your prayers are part of the rescue operation—I don't want you in the dark about that either. I can see your faces even now, lifted in praise for God's deliverance of us, a rescue in which your prayers played such a crucial part...
As I think about these verses, I know that when Paul speaks of sufferinghe speaks from experience. Think about the story of Job too. He went through every kind of loss you can imagine in lifeand still kept true to his faith. I also remember that the Jesus we serve, understands more than anybody else, that "bad things can and do happen to good people". In fact, he was completely innocent when he was taken to the cross.
So obviously, when we go through hard timeswe can know that we are not aloneand have had the best examples to go before us, and to still keep the faith. I know that just reading this probably won't clear up any doubts or questions in your mind and I don't know if I expect it to completely, but I want to leave you with a thoughtand a song that I wrote a while backwhen I was experiencing one of the worst sicknesses I ever had. Thinking I had mono, I could hardly get out of bed for about 5 days straight, and for me, when I go through sickness I experience so much doubt and questions in my head that I would never even normally think about. But after processing all of it, there was only one question that emerged in the front of my head: "If I had everything taken away from me that I lovewould I be fine with itand still be able to say that God is God?"
So if you are able, please go listen to this song , "I'll Be", performed by Newsboys (LINK AT BOTTOM), and maybe just take a few moments to let God speak to your heart, the way that he does to mine, every time I experience pain, loss, or heartache in life. He always reminds me that He is above, beyond, bigger, and stronger than anything in this world even though I can't see it.
SATELLITES & SIRENS "Blood, Sweat, and Rock ‘n Roll Tour" BLOG 1: Hey everyone, welcome to the Jesus Freak Hideout edition of our Blood, Sweat, and Rock ‘n Roll Tour Blog. We’re super excited to be sharing our travels on the road with all of you. It’s going to be a fun tour with a couple of great bands, Disciple, Decypher Down, and of course us. We’re here in Longview, TX for the first show of the tour and Disciple is doing their soundcheck, and they sound great...and loud, haha. Which we all love for a good concert.
As far as Satellites and Sirens, we’re looking forward to the chance to spend the next two months doing what we love. On the surface, it would seem that it’s as simple as just being able to show up and play a rock concert for lots of fun young people. But, for us it’s definitely more than that. Each one of us has a heart for each of those kids that comes to our shows. Those kids have a story, and sometimes they don’t have a chance to share it with anyone. It’s an honor to any one of us to be that person for a kid at a show. After our shows we make a pointed effort to be at our merch table and to meet as many kids as possible. Being a band that carries the flag of Christ, we believe that God has a plan for each of those kids, and if we have the opportunity to encourage them, we need to take that seriously, and frankly, we enjoy it.
On an unrelated note...we have officially started bringing a Wii out on tour with us. Why we haven’t done this before, is beyond me. I think we’ve learned from the error of our ways, and we’ll now be bringing that amazing piece of technology everywhere with us. Look for us to not only give tour updates, but Wii updates as well. We’re going to beat the game Punch Out on this tour, we promise.
We look forward to sharing our journey with you, thanks for checking us out. Remember, the grace that covers anything is available through the love of Christ, He cares for you, loves you, and wants the best for every part of your life! We hope to see you soon!
ME IN MOTION "SANCTUS REAL SPRING TOUR" BLOG DAY 2: Stumped
I have a long list of things that confuse me in this world, and area codes are high on that list. They just don't make sense. 615 is the Nashville code, but if you change one number, for example 616, you're almost 9 hours away in Michigan. Sometimes we play this game in the van and name off various area codes to see who can guess what city it's from. I'd like to think I have quite a few memorized but there is always one that stumps me. Sometimes the Bible stumps me too. Every now and then I'll come across a passage that doesn't make sense, and I get frustrated and close the book. There is a story about a man who is in a similar predicament in Acts Chapter 8. Philip is led by God's spirit to approach a man reading the book of Isaiah. He asks the man,
"Do you understand what you are reading?"
"How can I, " he said, "Unless someone explains it to me?"
Philip then proceded to explain to the man, and even baptized him. I think it's ok to feel frustrated with the scriptures. There is a bit of a language boundary. The original languages were very different from english and meanings can get twisted. Sometimes I come across something and I'll have to chew on it for a while. I have to do a little research and sleep on it. I think it's important though to also remember that The Gospel is for everyone. Jesus' message was meant for the simple, everyday people like you and me. Matthew 11 says, "You've concealed your ways from sophisticates and know-it-alls, but spelled them out clearly to ordinary people." Don't get down on ourself if you can't understand something in scripture. Chew on it, and ask questions. That's the only way we can really learn!
ME IN MOTION "SANCTUS REAL SPRING TOUR" BLOG DAY 1:
A FRESH START
Day 1. Sanctus Real Tour 2010. I can't think of a much better place to start a tour than the one and only Albuquerque, NM. As you've heard before, we as a band cannot get enough of this city, and word on the street is, we may be back again in May if all goes well! :)
I can't put into words the excitement we have for getting to share the stage on these 30 shows we're doing with such an incredible group of bands, and the amazing people that they all are. In the short time of saying hellos, and seeing old friends this morning, we can already tell it's going to be a great run. You just know when there is an instant sense of all being a part of the "Same Team" so to speak, that we are all working towards the Kingdom Goal...One cool side note for all you who like to know a bit of the "behind the scenes" of Christian music, on this tour, MIM will be performing for the first time, our new song "Seek Justice, Love Mercy" off our new record, and the cool thing about this song, is that it features Matt Hammitt, the lead singer from Sanctus as a writer on the song with me. Just a little nugget of info for you...haha. As a writer, it's such a cool thing when you can be on a tour with other bands who are playing the songs that you are a part of writing, and to see them shared from stage, is an exciting feeling, as I also had the opportunity to write with Addison Road (who is also a part of this tour) on a song for their upcoming record.
I just want to take a second and share with you a quick thought I have as I think about the idea of a new tour, and a new start. Let me reference a verse that hit me a couple days ago:
"If we claim that we're free of sin, we're only fooling ourselves. A claim like that is errant nonsense. On the other hand, if we admit our sins—make a clean breast of them—he won't let us down; he'll be true to himself. He'll forgive our sins and purge us of all wrongdoing. If we claim that we've never sinned, we out-and-out contradict God—make a liar out of him. A claim like that only shows off our ignorance of God." (I JOHN 1:8-10 MSG)
I think sometimes we are literally afraid of the idea of having a fresh start. It scares us to think of the pain that it takes to get there and to be made new, because, believe me, there IS pain that comes with the cleansing! There could be embarrassment from confessing a sin to a friend, to say sorry when we've hurt someone, and it takes humility to admit a wrong. That, I can admit myself! But I will say, that there is NOTHING like a fresh start, just as I'm reminded as we hit the road for a new run with the band. Remember the verse, it says that God won't let us down. Maybe we're afraid that we've even hurt Him too much by the way we've lived. But just remember, He has a forgiveness like none other, and can always give us a fresh start, a clean slate.
It’s an important idea to me, that – as G. K. Chesterton has said – our Christianity should look “less like a theory and more like a love affair.” Sometimes I think we’re in danger of making our faith about intellectual belief of the facts of who Jesus was/is. The danger, at least for me, is that a solely intellectualized faith can lose its heart, and over and over we are told in scripture that the heart is, well… the heart of the matter. Belief in the facts is an important part of faith for sure - believing that Jesus is the Son of God, that he died for our sins and rose from the grave, etc - but there is that unforgettable scripture that reminds us of the limits of mere belief where we are told that “even the demons believe, and tremble.” So clearly, a faith that pleases God is more than just believing the facts. So what is the more that God is looking for?
I believe Jesus came to give us more than just better information about who God is, I believe he came to give us a relationship with God. At its most basic level, the story of Christianity is a love story between God and man. He even refers to us as his bride, and this helps me understand what God desires. I’m reminded of my own marriage to Taya and what it has taught me about the difference between law and love.
I have a story:
Taya is from the Bellingham, WA and she flies home to be with her family at least once a year. She’s also very clean and orderly, and I – as you might imagine – am… well… not. So in our first year of marriage, when she was flying back home from a week with her family, it occurred to me that I should probably clean up the house that I had managed to thoroughly destroy within hours of her departure. But then I had what seemed like a brilliant thought at the time: “hey, if I wait until she gets home, she can help me clean the house. She seems to like cleaning the house anyways…” It sounded very reasonable in my mind, but… obviously it wasn’t such a good thought. I would soon learn that Taya didn’t think it was a good idea either.
You can imagine that after a period of being apart from each other, I might have hoped for a happy, loving reunion. But that was not to be. And thus, I learned my lesson. If I wanted Taya to be happy, the house had to be clean when she got home. And so I learned what I had to do to fulfill the letter of the law of Taya in that regard, and from then on, whenever she would return home from a trip, I would follow the letter of that law and consequently I’d do the least I had to do to fulfill my obligations.
I would sweep things under the couch. I would rearrange the dirty dishes in a way that made it look like there were less than there actually were… you get the idea. It was all very half-hearted. Of course Taya knew it, but was very gracious, and this is how it went for the next few years.
And then about 4 years into our marriage, she was coming home again, and – again – I did the least that I had to do to get the job done. But then something strange happened, and I had a new thought, unlike any I’d ever had before: “Man, Taya would be really surprised if I oiled our hard wood floors…” So, after finding the oil and the mop, I polished those floors to perfection. And then I had another thought: “you know, Taya would feel really loved if I were to vacuum the upstairs”. And so I found the vacuum cleaner, figured out how to turn it on, and proceeded to not only vacuum the upstairs but dust and wash the bedding and clean the mirrors and on and on through the rest of the little green farm house we rented, driven by some new found desire to please her.
When I finished in a sweat, I went to clean up in the bathroom, and what you need to understand and appreciate here is that we lived on a farm with well water that smelled sulfuric and left an orange residue everywhere it sat. Taya had been away for a couple of weeks, so you can imagine what our toilet bowl looked like. Or maybe you can’t imagine. Perhaps you shouldn’t…
To put it mildly, the toilet bowl was stained with a muddy orange silt that had sat and become one with the porcelain over that last couple of weeks, which sparked my last, best, and most radical thought of that day:
“Taya would be amazed if she were to come home to a spotless toilet bowl!”
And so I got down on my knees and scrubbed that thing while angel choirs descended from heaven and extolled the virtues of the cleanliness of our toilet bowl.
Taya was indeed amazed. Almost as much as I was. Afterwards I was wondering about what the heck came over me, and I realized that all along I had been doing the least that was required of me out of obligation to the law of Taya, but this time it was different – I had done it out of love. And that is the distinction.
This provided me with a real life picture of the difference between dead religion (based on believing facts about God) and a vibrant relationship with Christ, where faith can either be a burdensome, obligatory, passionless ideology or a response to love that spontaneously erupts and spills out of our lives like an artesian well that cannot be contained.
I know which one I prefer, how about you?
It’s gotta be
More like falling in love
Than something to believe in
More like losing my heart
Than giving my allegiance
Caught up, called out, come take a look at me now
It’s like I’m falling in love…
Next blog coming soon: The meaning behind verse 1 of “More Like Falling In Love.”