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JFH Staff Blog | Above The Golden State

Thursday, February 5, 2009

God's Will For YOU

Blog 3


There’s been a lot on my mind lately, but there is one thing I really wanted to share with you today:

I realized the most “life-changing” thing I’ve learned the last 5 years is “thankfulness.”  Every good day, week, or sometimes an entire month, has been a result of a thankful heart. Of course I have A LOT of things to be thankful for- friends, family, health, an amazing church, mentors, food in my belly, clothes on my back, and of course a lot of fun (vain) temporary things as well.

I’m almost ashamed to tell people how good life has been for me the last 5-6 years, even long before I starting playing music full time.  And it’s not because I’m an American/ suburb/ spoiled/ consumer. The good life all started when I said to God, “I want to be satisfied with simply knowing Jesus and nothing else”.  Thus, I’ll testify that it’s His “fault” or doing, not my own.  I live “under His mercy” every second.  That’s for certain!

To give you some background, this all started during prayer a long time ago when we first launched the church (Solid Rock) here in Portland, Oregon.  My pastors would start every gathering, big or small, with prayers of “thankfulness,” So before asking God for anything, we’d just thank Him for what He’d already given us, quoting the Psalms “enter His gates with thanksgiving”. 

Now eventually this mindset seeped not only into my prayers, but my entire day.  Life became as simple as enjoying God’s goodness and knowing Jesus!  Uh… perfect?

I dare you to try it!

I’m NOT saying life is easy, or that this is your “best life now,” but I am saying that God is GOOD! 

I believe if we could simply understand fully the gift we’ve been given in God’s son Jesus, and the Holy Spirit alone, we’d be more than stoked on life.

On a similar note, I frequently hear on the road, and at home, people talking about God’s “will” for there life.  Is it any wonder that God tells us EXACTLY what it is?
“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the WILL of God in Christ Jesus FOR YOU.” (1 Thess. 5:16-18)

Pff!  There’s nothing else to say.

Stick that on your “facepage” and poke it!

Your thoughts?

Ok random stuff now:

Reading - The Brothers Karamazov, Psalms and Acts.

Listening -  Fiction Family, Longwave, Nickel Creek, Tingsek, Ratatat, TV On The Radio, The Bird and The Bee, Noah and The Whale, Anathallo, and the new Bon Iver EP.

Watching – Sportscenter.

Eating – Lots of oranges for some reason.  I got a humongous bag and I need to finish them before I go on tour.

Playing – Wii golf and indoor soccer.

Running – A LOT, and exercising.  2009 = year of body!



Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Words Don't Act Unless We Do

Ah, it's good to be home this week.  The last three weeks since the album release have been gnarls (=intense/crazy/radical).  Lots of shows and new things I've never dealt with before.  So I've been having a lot of fun too!  Life would be boring with the same routine every hour, every day, every year.

I'm not sure what to tell you guys.  Like I said, a lot has happened!  But here's the first thing that comes to mind:

I was out in Maui for about 10 days, mostly leading worship for Calvary Chapel South Maui, and a really cool thing happened.  I was sharing a room with a couple other guys, one of them was from Alaska, who was visiting his friend at the bible college. Well, the dude totally decided to start following Jesus (you know, "got saved").  Of course it was the Lord who orchestrated the whole thing, but it was fun to be a part of what God was doing in his heart!  The guy was smart, so he had a lot of great/fun questions for us to answer.  Like, "do I really have to give up certain things to follow Jesus?" and "what makes a sin a sin?"

We were driving in the car one day and he asked me, "so you don't really think about God all the time do you, like even when you're eating and stuff?" I was like, heck yes I do, especially when I'm eating something super good, like shaved ice, or Mango, or 100% pea berry Kona coffee!  He didn't reply right away, cause either he thought I was joking, or he was letting the idea spin around in his head for a moment.

Then I told him that it doesn't happen overnight, but as we "walk", grow, and learn to live life in Jesus, the more and more He becomes a part of everything we do. It isn’t about just one hour at church every week, it’s a relationship to be lived in every moment!

…And then I told him that I'm in a Christian band, and he got saved!

No, just kidding, he gave his life to Jesus later that weekend at the morning service before he flew back home to Alaska.

There's more to the story of course, but when the Spirit is after someone, it's hard to get away!

Sadly, this doesn't happen every day for me, or even every year to be honest.  But it does line up with a few things God has been encouraging me in the past few months, and even this morning reading through the book of James.  I want to not just be a hearer, but a doer of God's word.  Consider this - Words don't act unless we do.

It did remind me of when I first gave my life to the Lord at junior high camp.  I was so confused, I raised my hand the next week at Youth Group to get saved again.  Ha!

I remember a lot of things that happened that first week of being alive in Christ.  I never said the "F" word again, and God took away my anger problems.  It's so much more than that of course, but those were two pretty big things for me at the time, and so my life in Jesus began!

What are your thoughts? How did Jesus radically save your life? What changes did you see once you made that choice? Has God ever used you to lead someone to Jesus?

Is it ok to say "heck" and "F" word in the same blog? / Is it better to ask for permission or forgiveness after the fact?

Random stuff:

-I finished reading The Shack by William P. Young, and started reading Searching For God Knows What by Donald Miller.  The Shack was cool.  I really appreciate what Young did to really challenge my concept of God.  The book naturally stirs up a lot of commotion and opinions, but with all of it aside, I've been encouraged to live in a closer relationship with Jesus.

Miller's book is already breaking down a lot of walls for me.  He's stupid funny!  I think it's in chapter two that he talks about making God exist for our own agenda (which is a bad thing).  I've already began working on a song that parallels that thought with Psalm  43.  Don't ask why I put those two together?  It was just what I was reading that morning.

-Listening to Tyler Burkum's new release "Darling, Maybe Someday" and Chris Taylor's "Take Me Anywhere".  I recommend both.

-I've added a couple Jon Foreman songs to my worship set.  "House Of God, Forever" and "Your Love Is Strong".

-I finally found some v-necks that fit me right at Old Navy.  Go figure!  

I hope the hipster kids will talk to me now.  Especially after I cut off my skinny jeans for Summer time, became a Ryan Adams fan, and started riding my fixed gear bicycle from the stone age to work...from the suburbs.

-Last but not least, HURRAY for the Olympics!


Above The Golden State

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

I'd Love To Hear Your Thoughts

Hey There,
First off, I'm kinda new to this whole "blog" thing, so please have mercy on me as I develop my sweet blogging skills.

My name is Michael, I play in a band called "Above The Golden State" (I apologize for the shameless plug).  We're a new band on Sparrow records with a self-titled album coming out July 22nd.  Just look for the huge bear on the cover!
If you haven't heard of the band or myself, no worries!  I'm just a dude who loves and follows Jesus. I'm stoked to be on this "adventure" as I'd like to call it, to write, record and share songs.  It's a rare thing to get to do, as well as a huge responsibility. I’m very excited to see what God’s plans are through ATGS in the coming years.

As of now, it's super chill.  We're starting to book more and more shows as well as getting ready for a Fall tour with Starfield (a favorite band of mine).  So I'm doing stuff like ordering T-Shirts and working on the live show.
We’re all spending most our time serving away with the Church (Solid Rock), writing new demo's for the next, next album, hanging with friends, doing summer stuff like wakeboarding, surfing, and soccer, not to mention what I’m dong right now, hanging out at coffee shops using the internet to get work done and blog to you all!  Life to the fullest! We all live in Portland, Oregon.  The sun doesn't shine too often, so these summer months are epic! Go ahead and ask me any questions you have.  I love talking about life and God, music and whatever.

My big question to any and everyone, is how do you see God moving right now, either in your own life, or in your church, or perhaps just in general?

Here’s my answer:
It’s really cool to live on the West Coast of the United States, specifically in Portland.  I’m beyond blessed to be apart of the church here, and the movement that God is orchestrating.  It goes beyond just our college group “The Way” every Friday night, where young men (including myself) and women are letting Jesus radically change there lives, following Jesus and being obedient to His will.  It’s gnarly, and it’s happening!  If you don’t believe me, come visit and be apart of it.
I can list off a lot of life changing books, bands and films that are coming out of this area, but I’d like to name just one at the moment.  We just had a man named Mike Erre come to our church and teach last Sunday.  I knew him already from a book he wrote called The Jesus Of Suburbia.  I read it last Summer, and it's still impacting my life!  If you haven’t read it, please put it on your list.   His teachings have really hit home for me, and it was rad to meet and hear him speak in person.  Just another dude who loves Jesus!

To conclude, I'm being radically challenged to begin living my faith in Jesus.  I've been deceived by "the world" and culture, but also I've been deceived by "the church" and church culture.  Going to church, and being the church are two totally different things!  I'm learning what it means to be the Church, the body of Christ, living, moving, loving, hurting, growing and everything else that goes along with it!

I look forward to hearing from you all and hopefully getting to meet you while out on tour with Starfield this Fall!


Random info:
Currently listening to the new Coldplay and "Summer" by Jon Foreman and reading The Shack by William P. Young (A Local Friend).  This morning I read Psalm 18 and finished 2nd Tim. (more thoughts to come) Tonight I'm going to my first Yoga class ever.  Pray for me!


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