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JFH Staff Blog | December 2011

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

We Recommend - All Sons and Daughters, 'Brokenness Aside EP'

Anyone who knows me knows I'm pretty picky about worship music. This isn't anything I'm proud of at all, of course, especially since it makes it very, very difficult to find worship music I can turn off critical ears toward and worship my Savior with. Part of it may be because worship music hasn't changed much since the late 90s and part of it is more than likely because, due to running a site like JFH for 15 years, you can tend to hear more music than your usual worshipper, so it can be tough to move past the feel that worship music seems to be stuck in a neverending, barely evolving musical rut.

So when I find worship music that moves me, it's something to celebrate.

Up from the ashes of Jackson Waters comes a worship duo that is comprised of the band's former vocalist, David Leonard, and a new musical partner, Leslie Jordan. Signed with Integrity Music, the pair released their first EP in 2011 with a second one on its way for January 17, 2012 and a full-length album releasing in March (containing the 2 EPs plus a few new ones). Brokenness Aside EP No. 1 is a lovely collection of intimate, personal worship songs that express praise and laments in a refreshing package. Leonard's signature and stylized vocals are a nice change from the worship standard, while Leslie's vocals add a sensitive side. This pair is worth checking out and following as they continue to bring us new tunes to sing on our knees.
- John DiBiase

All Sons & Daughters
Brokenness Aside, EP No. 1 (2011)

Click here for our album page.

Our synopsis: "Modern worship that breaks the mold just enough to be refreshing." (Recommended by JFH's John DiBiase)
Perfect For: Worship, Meditation, Humility
Song Highlights: "Alive," "Let It Shine," "All The Poor And Powerless," "Brokenness Aside"... OK, the whole thing.

So, what are your thoughts on and experiences with the album Brokenness Aside, EP No. 1? Do you recommend it? If so, why?

Featured Fan - Adam Simpson

Adam Simpson and Family Force 5

Favorite Band/Artist: Family Force 5
Featured Fan: Adam Simpson
Location: Manhattan, Kansas
When/Where Was The Above Photo Taken: The Christmas Pageant 2011, Spencer, IA
What About This Artist's Music Speaks To You:  Family Force 5's music speaks to me that no matter what, you can be yourself. When I became a Christian, most of my friends left me because I wasn't the same anymore, but through FF5 I have found that you can be just as crazy and still be a strong Christian.
Favorite Album by This Artist: III
Favorite Song by This Artist: "Kountry Gentleman"
Number of Times Seen This Artist Live: 2
Favorite Live Show Experience:  When I got to dance on stage in a ridiculous Christmas Costume at The 2011 Christmas Pageant!!
Favorite Piece Of Merch/Item You Own From This Artist:  Tough question.... Probably my Bling Ring.
Website: http://twitter.com/#!/dr_talk404

Submit your photo and reasons why YOU'RE a fan for a chance to be featured here!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Revealing Response - Discovering What Christmas Means to You

Every December, we read stories, sing songs, and decorate our homes to celebrate the advent of Christ. But these things alone won’t bring us closer to God. Instead, we should consider how the Christmas story changes us and apply its true meaning to our lives.

Most people fall into one of three categories when it comes to the true meaning of Christmas. Some are neutral towards Jesus, interested in their own goals and unconcerned with the miraculous story of Christ’s birth. Others will be overtly hostile toward the name of Jesus and all He represents. Only a few will truly worship Him this season.

 Let’s consider these three reactions in light of the characters and events presented in Matthew 2:1-12.

 Indifference

 The Jewish authorities represent how most people feel about Christ’s birth—neutral. Many people expected a great leader would arise to deliver God’s people from Roman oppression. Although the authorities knew the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem (Matt. 2:4-5), they made no effort to find out more information from the magi or worship Jesus themselves.

Today, that’s how many people feel towards Christ. They ignore the true significance of His birth. At Christmastime, they talk about shopping, crowded malls, traffic, great sales, and their own wish lists—or they discuss their vacations, holiday meals, and good times they will enjoy as a family. They don’t feel antagonistic towards Jesus; their focus is just on other things.

Hatred

King Herod demonstrated the second type of response people can have regarding the Savior. Herod the Great was a shrewd, cruel Roman king. The Jews hated him for claiming to be one of them because he was an Edomite, one of their ancient enemies. He ruled as a tyrant, killing several of his sons, his wife, and anyone else who threatened his power. That’s why should come as no surprise that “he was troubled” when he heard of a new king (Matt. 2:3). When the magi didn’t report to him after visiting the Messiah, he ordered the slaughter of all male children under the age of two in Bethlehem and the area surrounding it (Matt. 2:16).


Today, there are still people who react with animosity towards Jesus Christ. Some fight to prevent manger scenes at Christmastime and to silence all mention of Jesus in the workplace, schools, or other public settings. Like Herod, they are motivated by fear. They are afraid of losing their liberty, so they strike out at godly people who want to live righteously under upright leaders. However, as you and I know, the only true liberty is to be released from the shackles of sin through Jesus’ death on the cross. That’s why followers of Jesus need to speak up. If we don’t proclaim the name of Christ, we will continue to lose our freedom to do so.


Worship

The magi represent a third group of people—those who choose to honor Jesus. Matthew 2:11 says, “After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him.” These wealthy, highly educated men believed Jesus was king of the Jews and fell on their faces in reverence. They brought Him gold, frankincense, and myrrh (Matt. 2:11).

Gold was the most valuable metal of the time, a gift fit for a king. They also brought frankincense, which was used by the temple priests to sprinkle the altar of sacrifice. It symbolizes that Jesus came not to be served but to serve (Matt. 20:28). The third gift was myrrh. It was primarily used as a burial spice to mask the smell of decay (John 19:39-40). It spoke of Jesus’ divine mission—to give His life to bring salvation to humanity.

The magi’s last act of worship was to listen to and obey God. He warned them not to return to Herod, so they went home by a different route.

God still calls us to adore Christ today. True worship is primarily an attitude of the heart rather than outward actions. Therefore, this Christmas, make sure to take time to honor Him with your life and words, and let the beautiful story of Christ’s birth motivate you to worship the One who died so that you might have eternal life.  

 

Copyright 2011 In Touch Ministries, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. www.intouch.org

Friday, December 23, 2011

End of Give Take and Rebuild Love Tour Blog

               Sunday, December 18th was the last day of The Give, Take, and Rebuild Love Tour with Please Promise. The tour ended in Old Hickory, Tennessee, and what a bittersweet day it was! While it will be nice to see our families and friends, it was definitely sad to say goodbye to our tour-mates Please Promise. One bible verse sticks out when I think about this tour:

“As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” –Proverbs 27:17

This verse sticks out because of all of the trials we faced on the road this time. We were faced with automotive, parking, financial, and countless other kinds of issues, and through it all we always helped one another stay grounded. This proverb is one of my favorite. I think about all the “iron” in my life. Parents, grandparents, friends, my wife. They all play important roles in shaping me into a better follower of Christ. I really want to encourage you to think of who the “iron” in your life is.

I’m currently in Florida picking up my grandmother to take her back to Ohio for Christmas. While down here, my wife and I are enjoying the beautiful weather and doing a little last minute Christmas shopping. We are headed back to Ohio tomorrow. I’m super excited to see my family this Christmas, especially since I have not seen them in a few weeks. This will probably be my last blog before Christmas, so I hope everyone has a very blessed Christmas! Stay sweet.

Jameson

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

10 Years Later - Five Iron Frenzy, 'Electric Boogaloo'

We never thought we'd see it happen.  We all thought that the Denver, Colorado ska octet Five Iron Frenzy had gone to the grave, never to resurrect.  But November 22, 2011 proved to be a glorious day for those fans who had a part of themselves die as well, for Five Iron Frenzy had returned, announcing plans for a brand new album in 2013 (with a few line up changes).  I was pumped, and have been listening to a lot of their music lately, mostly the 2001 jewel of an album, Five Iron Frenzy 2: Electric Boogaloo

What's interesting about this album is its almost complete lack of ska.  Sure you have "Plan B," but the majority of Electric Boogaloo is like a punk/rock album with some ska influence.  This is definitely their heaviest material (other than "Mind For Treason" on Cheeses of Nazareth, of course), with perhaps some early glimpses of what we would get when Roper put out their one and only album.  "Pre-Ex-Girlfriend" comes out of the gate quickly, with other rocking tracks like "Farsighted" and "The Day We Killed."  There was some songwriting on display from saxophonist Leanor "Jeff the Girl" Ortega in "Car," plenty of traditional Five Iron satire in "Vultures" and humble lyrics from Reese in "Blue Mix" and "Eulogy."  Five Iron Frenzy 2: Electric Boogaloo stands out to me as one of their best albums.  Some may agree, some may disagree, but I personally feel it's one of their strongest releases.  Regardless, you should check it out.  November 2011 marked the ten year anniversary for this album, but it doesn't feel like it's been that long.  It still sounds terrific even today... a decade later.

-- Scott Fryberger

Featured Fan - James Rohrer

John Cooper of Skillet and James Rohrer

Favorite Band/Artist: Skillet
Featured Fan: James Rohrer
Location: Willow Street Pennslyvannia
When/Where Was The Above Photo Taken: Creation 2010
What About This Artist's Music Speaks To You:  It speaks to me because it changed my life. Skillet got me through some hard times but now I love them, love their music. love that they love God!
Favorite Album by This Artist: Awake
Favorite Song by This Artist: "The Last Night" and "Those Nights"
Number of Times Seen This Artist Live: 4
Favorite Live Show Experience:  When the lead singer John Cooper said Jesus is The Rock of my Salvation and John told that to the whole Creation crowd because I was wearing a shirt that said that
Favorite Piece Of Merch/Item You Own From This Artist:  My signed Skillet CD
Website: N/A

Submit your photo and reasons why YOU'RE a fan for a chance to be featured here!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Give Take and Rebuild Love Tour Blog #3

            Hello again! Jameson from TGT here! We have been on the Give, Take, and Rebuild Love Tour with our dudes in Please Promise for about 2 weeks. The past couple of days have been completely awesome! Were currently relaxing at a beachfront condo in Galveston, TX (thanks Ron!). The 2 days we have been here have been filled with lots of writing, relaxing, card playing, movie watching, and hanging out. It has been fantastic. We have one more day here and then were headed to Weatherford, TX for our show at Church of Peaster!

            Today is our last day at the condo and we’re feeling very rejuvenated! I love playing as many shows as possible when we tour but sometimes it’s nice to get some days off. It’s been a blast just getting to hang out with Please Promise and getting to know them better! We have also written quite a bit of songs and ideas since being here which we are super excited about. I love the writing process and hearing an idea go from just an idea to a completed piece of work! I look forward to the day when you all can hear it!

            On a side note, we ran into a bit of a problem last night. Our van started leaking a moderate amount of oil from one place. I got under the van to look, and since I am not a mechanic there wasn’t much I could do. So today we are going go get it checked out. I’m praying and hoping for the best! So if you’re reading this, please pray that the problem is not severe, and we will at least be able to get our van home from tour.

            I will keep the blog updated with the latest news with TGT, but for now I’m going to try to figure out the van situation! Stay sweet.

 Jameson

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Give Take and Rebuild Love Tour Blog #2

                Hey readers out there! Jameson from TGT here. We’re still on the Give, Take, and Rebuild Love Tour with our dudes Please Promise. We haven’t updated you in a while, and we have been through lots of ups and downs on this tour. First off I would love to thank all the promoters and venues that have taken care of us on this tour so far. We have had a lot of fun playing for you and the people who showed up to see us play! While this tour has been mostly good, and we have enjoyed the time we’re spending with our fans, other bands, and Please Promise, there has also been some crazy stuff we’ve had to deal with.

We actually had a show on this tour where we basically got stiffed, and after driving all that way to play with not even compensation for gas, food or anything, it sorta left our tour with a lot of angst and frustration. When faced with a situation like this it’s hard not to react in a negative way. We are only human, but after realizing we were just dragging ourselves down, we got together to pray and pray hard. Its funny how in the midst of a problem you can be so wound up that you forget that you have a God that will take care of you no matter what. After much prayer we left this venue knowing that it will get figured out, and we have keep our eyes focused on what’s right and just try to stay positive.

Throughout this tour we have done devotionals and prayed but this is a time when we need it more than ever. Not only for our troubles but to rejoice in the triumphs we have had. We were fortunate enough to have our second single “Chaos Parade” debut at number 23 on the Christian Rock Billboard Charts, which is a major blessing, and I know we would not be where we are without the love and guidance of our Savior.

Since we are talking about blessings, I just have to say that RYFO (www.ryfo.org) has been a major blessing for us. If your not familiar with RYFO, they are an organization that helps out touring bands with a network of people who either give us a place to stay, pray for us, or do services for bands for little or no cost. The RYFO host homes we have stayed in have been too good to us. One of the homes after hearing about our troubles with the venue wrote us a check to help us out. Its amazing how generous people can be. It seems like every time we have ever stayed at a RYFO home we always have an amazing experience! So if you have never heard of this amazing organization, be sure to check it out!

We’re about 2 weeks into this tour and finally have a few days off. We were fortunate enough to be introduced to a guy named Ron who hooked us up with a condo that overlooks the Gulf of Mexico here in Galveston, TX! We’re going to spend this time doing lots of writing, relaxing, and definitely spending some time in the Word. So big thanks to Ron!

I want to leave you with a little verse in James.

James 1:2-4

Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”

 Reading this verse just brings me peace knowing that no matter what we endure personally or as a band, we will persevere through it. Well, its time for me to get to writing some awesome music! Stay sweet.

 Jameson

Monday, December 12, 2011

Featured Fan - Hannah O'Neill

Hannah O'Neill with Duncan Phillips

Favorite Band/Artist: Newsboys
Featured Fan: Hannah O'Neill
Location: Rochester NY
When/Where Was The Above Photo Taken: WJ11 April 2nt in Springfield MO
What About This Artist's Music Speaks To You:  The newsboys' music pulled me out of a really dark time.
Favorite Album by This Artist: All of them
Favorite Song by This Artist: "Stay Strong"
Number of Times Seen This Artist Live: 10 times, not enough
Favorite Live Show Experience:  I guess back in Dec when my friend and I saw them and hung out with Duncan for 2 hours and had front row center seats.
Favorite Piece Of Merch/Item You Own From This Artist:  Aussie hoodie
Website: Facebook

Submit your photo and reasons why YOU'RE a fan for a chance to be featured here!

Wednesday, December 07, 2011

Give Take and Rebuild Love Tour Blog #1

  Hey Hi Hello! How are you all doing? It has been a while! I hope you are all doing well. It is I, Zack, Here to give you all a little update on our lives as The Great Transparency. For those of you who are unaware, we are currently on the "Give Take and Rebuild Love" tour with our good friends "Please Promise." Now let me tell you, we are having a freaking blast! The dudes in this band are amazing and have made this tour an amazing experience thus far. So if you are reading this, go check them out!

    We played our first show this past Friday at Park Place in New Philadelphia, Ohio, with a few local acts and had a great time. The kids that were there had such an amazing energy the entire show! Our buddies from Please Promise absolutely killed it. Let me just warn you all now, I will be bragging on Please Promise the entire tour and on every single blog. They are just an amazingly talented group of guys that we are extremely blessed to be traveling with. That night we ended up going home to have one last night in our own beds. Please Promise crashed at Tommy's place.

    The next morning rolls around and we find our selves getting up at the crack of dawn to combine our gear with Please Promises gear. Now let me tell yah, between all the gear we both own, this was no easy task, not even in the least bit. After a good hour or more, we finally got everything packed up, only to discover that our trailer was hanging much to low to the ground to go anywhere. But after some tricky reconfiguration, we solved the problem and headed out for Kokomo Indiana. We got there safe and sound and started setting up for our show with Always One Ministries. The show went so well and let me tell yah, Always One Ministries took such good care of us that I barely knew how to handle it. They were all so nice and extremely helpful. They fed us until we couldn't eat anymore, and then some! The light show was really sweet too! There were all kinds of lasers and fog, to be honest it almost made me sick on stage, but looked amazing. So we load up the trailer (which takes about a year and a half) and in the process it begins to rain. Not the soft, gentle rain we all know and love, but the kind of rain that's so cold and big that it hits you like a brick wall. So we hurry the loading, hop in the, and turn the key. Now as I turn the key, worse came to worse. The battery in the van had completely died and would not turn over the starter at all. Not even a little; our van was not doing a thing. So we tried and tried and tried but got nowhere what so ever. So we made a decision that we should've made long ago, we prayed over the situation; and low and behold the van started right up. It is amazing how awesome God works.

    The next morning rolls around, and at this point we were all dead, and not wanting to get out of bed at all. But whether we wanted to or not, it was time to head out for the next show. So we all hopped in the van and headed out for Robinson Illinois to play at Robinwood Assembly of God. The youth pastor and promoter Russ greeted us at the door when we arrived and instantly started taking care of us. He helped us set up and made us an amazing Stew for dinner that I personally ate way to much of. The show turned out to be a great time. Though there wasn't a huge crowd, a young lady gave her life to Christ, and that is so much better than any amount of people that could ever be at a show. We praise God with everything in us that we were able to share in that. Tomorrow we head out for Wichita Kansas and are super stoked! I hope you are all doing well and are having a blessed week! Keep your eyes open for more blogs to come! Here is a little something I want to leave you with, it is my favorite scripture and has helped me through a lot in my life. Psalms 91:7; Though ten thousand may fall to my right side, and another ten thousand to my left, I will not be harmed. This speaks to me so much because it is direct proof that our God is always there to protect us. No matter what the situation, he is and always will be our protector. I hope you can carry this and may it help you get through tough times where you feel you need a helping hand. We love you all very much, and God bless!

Zack TGT   

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Featured Fan - Adam Wilson

House of Heroes and Adam Wilson

Favorite Band/Artist: House of Heroes
Featured Fan: Adam Wilson
Location: Pineville, LA
When/Where Was The Above Photo Taken: July 2011. Cafe Chi Alpha. Lafayette,LA
What About This Artist's Music Speaks To You:  Their music reminds me to always have fun in life no matter whats hardships it brings. Stand firm in what I believe in.
Favorite Album by This Artist: The End Is Not The End
Favorite Song by This Artist: "Journey Into Space, Pt.1"
Number of Times Seen This Artist Live: 1
Favorite Live Show Experience:  At Cafe Chi Alpha. There was maybe 20 people at the show. It made the show a little more intimate, but still AWESOME!
Favorite Piece Of Merch/Item You Own From This Artist:  "God Save The Foolish Kings" tshirt
Website: N/A

Submit your photo and reasons why YOU'RE a fan for a chance to be featured here!

 


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