Sunday, September 15, 2013

MUSIC VIDEO

SHARE THIS VIDEO AND HELP US SPREAD THE TRUTH OF GOD'S LOVE!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Track 8 Devotional - Last Son

     He jets through the sky at speeds the eye can barely follow, passing through cloud banks and darting around mountain peaks. He looks down and though he is far above the city he can see every person clearly, thousands of them going about their daily business, leading ordinary lives. This morning alone he has saved two of them from being run over by cars, caught a falling steel girder before it crushed a lady and the baby in the stroller she was pushing, used his breath to put out a fire that was consuming a ten-story office building, and caught a school bus filled with middle school students that had been forced off of the large bridge leading into the city before the vehicle hit the water below. It is like this everyday. The people walk headlong into disaster and when death looms near he is the one that hears the screams and must react. What haunts him is the moments that haven't happened but someday might. He can crush marble into powder in his mighty hands, but what will he do on the day he faces a weight he cannot lift? What will he feel on the day that he isn't fast enough? What will they think of him on the day he comes face to face with his limit... and it defeats him?

ABOUT THE SONG

     Casey and I are unashamed geeks... we are comic junkies. When Casey wrote "Last Son" it was his exploration of the question "What would faith look like for Superman?" If you had so much power, a god among men, what need would you have for a savior. This song was the answer. Superman (the Last Son of Krypton) is an alien, in this world but not of this world. He is a hero yes, but he is also an ideal... a symbol... above all else, Superman is an example.There are so many ways that the superman character  can be applied to the Christian life. We are also not of this world.

John 15:19--If ye were of the world, the world would love his own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.

Like Superman we gain strength from a source of light... not the sun, but the Son of God. However, the application the song focuses on is not our strength as Christians but our limits and how we should handle them.

APPLICATION
     Imagine the weight of responsibility that would come with the cape. How heavy would the emotional weight of that symbolic "S" be? Many of us find ourselves in positions of responsibility. As parents, as siblings, as ministers... in all of these roles we find ourselves carrying upon our shoulders the weight of another person's world at times. That weight can be overwhelming and can give way to fear. How many times have you been afraid that you simply won't be strong enough? In the song, we find superman taking those fears and handing them to the only hero who is truly without limits. Jesus Christ. No amount of heroics can save a soul, only Christ could accomplish that. Our message to you is this. If you hold yourself solely responsible for the lives of others you set yourself up for failure. The best way to protect your loved ones is to place them in God's hands. A you read this many of you are juggling the same fears and stresses that I have described... you have shed tears of worry over whether you can afford to pay this months bills or to even feed your family. You have laid awake at night shredding your nerves over the fear that you haven't done enough, worked enough, studied enough and that because of that you have let someone down. Here is the Good News. 2 Corinthians 12:9 tells us that His strength is made perfect in our weakness and that His grace is sufficient for us. You don't have to be strong because He is. You don't have to be super. You are already being a hero to your family and friends just by living a godly example in front of them. 
     So, weary brother or sister. Lay your burden down. You don't have to save the world or carry it. 

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Track 7 Devotional : Through Your Eyes

About the song
     Through Your Eyes may be my personal favorite song on the album, not just because of the style of music but because of the message that it carries. This song began as one of Tyler's guitar riffs that I instantly fell in love with. The basic idea of the chorus was written on the back of a page of sheet music on the spot but the rest of the song took a little time. Over the next day or so it became clear to me what God was whispering to my heart to sing. The message was simple. The weaker I am, in my moments of greatest failure and shame...it is in those times that His strength is made perfect.

2 Corinthians 12:9

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)
But He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power[a] is perfected in weakness.” Therefore, I will most gladly boast all the more about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may reside in me.

     I have spent many years in youth ministry and in that time I have seen so many teenagers that struggle with understanding their own value. They look at themselves and see absolutely nothing to love. At some point they came to believe that they can do nothing but fail. Some of them try to bleed the pain and guilt out of their lives by cutting themselves with razors; their rubber wristbands and long sleeves hide a map of scars. Others withdraw into a private world of self loathing and oppressive darkness. Some try to lose themselves in sinful lives that only add to the overwhelming burden of guilt. Sadly, many others simply give up and take their own lives. The bottom line is this: they have lost track of who they are. James 1:23 likens the Word of God to a mirror. He said that some people see their reflection in God's Word but then as soon as they turn away they forget who they were. If we desire to understand who we are, the only mirror we need is Scripture. The problem comes when we turn around and face what people have told us we are, when we see every mistake we've made thrown back in our faces, and when we look into a literal mirror and hate the person staring back at us.
     So then who and what are we according to the Word of God? The first thing we are is loved (John 3:16). We are also uniquely crafted. Psalm 139:14 tells us we are "fearfully and wonderfully made". As an artist I know what it means to create something "fearfully and wonderfully", to spend long hours working on every detail, perfecting the design until it matches my vision. On a divine scale God has done that with each of us. We also have a purpose. Jeremiah 29:11 is a favorite verse for many because it reminds us that God has a plan for us. We aren't just a random face in the crowd; we have a very specific plan laid out before us filled with both blessings and purpose. We are masterpieces of an incredible artist. 
     Whoever you are, whatever you have done, whatever has been done to you... it doesn't have to be what defines you. If you believe in God but struggle to see how he could love you as flawed as you are the answer is simple. When He looks at you He sees no flaws. He sees only perfection. If you have accepted the sacrifice of His Son, Jesus, on the cross then God sees only the perfection of His handiwork. Maybe you haven't ever given God a chance or believed He existed. Give your life to Him, it shouldn't be too hard if you are making a mess out of it yourself. Dare Him to do better. I promise you that He always will. He loves you as you are and can help you be so much more. He is proud of you, and to Him you are a great treasure. He...wants...you. Run to Him and learn how to see yourself through His eyes. It will change your life forever.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Music Video

So, Thursday at 7PM we will be releasing the official music video for "Through Your Eyes". Imari Anderson and Timothy Phipps from Surviving Child crafted an amazing video experience. The story will blow you away and we believe God is going to use this video to save lives. We appreciate all of the long hours and hard work that went into making this a reality.  Here is where all of you come in. We need you to share the video with as many people as you can as often as you can. The farther we can spread it, the more God can use it to heal the hurting and mend broken hearts as only He can. We love you all and thank you so much for the support you always give our ministry. We couldn't do any of this without you. We mostly want to take this opportunity to thank God for giving us the honor of ministering in this way. So tune in on youtube/facebook/reverbnation/etc... thursday night and be looking for the Through Your Eyes devotional soon as well.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Track 6 Devotional - Learning To Fight





Track 6 Devotional - Learning To Fight

About the Song and the Album
When we decided to name our new album “Learning to Fight” it was basically just a “cool idea.” However, in the time it took to get the album written and recorded, “Learning to Fight” became the story of how we had to fight to get this project off the ground.
Honestly, we probably came dangerously close to losing this ministry that God so richly blessed us with. One of our members had to face a life threatening illness, which put us in limbo for a while. We were faced with internal issues, which could have destroyed us. Some of us were dealing with serious personal struggles.
The devil has been fighting us from day one. Despite his efforts, “Learning to Fight” is finished and, in the name of Jesus, is about to give the devil a big fat black eye. The most important thing about learning to fight is learning that you can. The serpent has no dominion over us.
The song “Learning to Fight” is pretty personal to me. The devil definitely knows our weaknesses, and he certainly knew the best way he could get to me. Every time it felt like I was making progress in my relationship with Christ, the devil would attack with full force.
I’m sure many of you deal with this on a regular basis, just as I have. We can fight. We don’t have to take it. As I was growing up, my parents always taught me to stand up for myself. We are children of God, and as our heavenly father, he also wishes for us to stand up for ourselves.

Stand Strong
“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his great power. Put on the full armor of God so that YOU CAN FIGHT against the devil’s evil tricks. Our fight is not against people on earth but against the rulers and authorities and the powers of this world’s darkness, against the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly world.”
Ephesians 6:10-12 (NCV)
Okay, let’s break this down. The first part of the scripture says, “Be strong in the Lord and in his great power.” When it comes to spiritual warfare, we have to be strong in Christ. It all begins with Jesus. We can’t stand against the devil and his tricks on our own. We need Jesus. In Acts 19 we’re told a story of some people going into a spiritual battle a little unprepared….wait did I say a little. I meant A LOT.
“But some people also were traveling around and making evil spirits go out of people. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus to force the evil spirits out. They would say, ‘By the same Jesus that Paul talks about, I order you to come out!’ Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest were doing this. But one time an evil spirit said to them, ‘I know Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?’ Then the man who had the evil spirit jumped on them. Because he was so much stronger than all of them, they ran away from the house naked and hurt.” Acts 19:13-16
First of all, these guys weren’t followers of Christ. Notice that they said, “By the same Jesus that Paul talks about.” They didn’t claim Jesus as Lord. Instead they referred to Jesus as that guy that Paul preaches about. Ephesians 6:10 tells us to be strong in the Lord. These guys were just hoping that throwing a big name out there was going to do something. Think of it like this, if someone much stronger than me was trying to pick a fight, saying Hulk Hogan’s name isn’t going to help me. However, if the Hulkster was my friend and was there with me, it would be a different story. For Jesus to help us during spiritual warfare, we must know him as Lord. Those guys in Acts 19 didn’t, and they got owned. We must STAND STRONG IN THE LORD.

The Enemy
The passage from Ephesians 6 also says to put on the full armor of God, which I’ll get to in a minute, but for now lets focus on that last part. Our fight is not against people on earth, but the spiritual powers of evil in the heavenly places. Here’s my twenty-first century translation for that passage, “My problem is not the punk that cut me off in traffic this morning, but the little devil on my shoulder that convinced me that it would be okay to flip the dude off.” In other words, other people are not our enemies, satan and his minions are.
In John 10:10 Jesus said, “A thief comes to steal, kill, and destroy, but I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.” Jesus came to bring us life. However, there is opposition. The thief, satan, is determined to get in between us and that abundant life. If we let the devil have his way, he will steal, kill, and destroy that abundance. WE CAN FIGHT BACK, but how?

The Armor of God
“Stand therefore, with truth like a belt around your waist, righteousness like armor on your chest, and your feet sandaled with readiness for the gospel of peace. In every situation take the shield of faith, and with it you will be able to extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is God’s word.”
Ephesians 6:14-17(HCSB)

I absolutely love this scripture. I could write a whole book on this, so I’m going to try my best to keep it brief. The armor of God consists of, the belt of truth, chest plate of righteousness, shoes for the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit. I believe with all my heart, that this passage of scripture is vital to every believer.
First, there is the belt of truth. In John 14:6 Jesus said, “I am the way, THE TRUTH, and the life.” Remember, it all begins with Jesus. He is the truth. The belt is the part of the armor that holds everything to together. Jesus is the central piece of God’s armor.
Next, there is the chest plate of righteousness. Proverbs 4:23 says, “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.” The chest plate is to protect your vital organs. In a spiritual sense, your heart is the source of your life. Only righteousness can protect our heart from corruption. Our righteousness is only possible through Christ. It’s all about Jesus.
Then the there is the shoes for the gospel of peace. In Matthew 28:19 Jesus said, “Go therefore, and make disciples of all nations.” As followers of Christ, we have been given a mission. Shoes are made for walking. “Gospel” means good news. Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead, so that there could be peace between God and man. As Christians, we should be ready to move in order to accomplish the mission at hand. Keep your eye on the objective. The objective is the gospel of Jesus.
Next, we have the shield of faith. The scripture says, “In EVERY situation, take up the shield of faith.” We live in a world at war. Attack is inevitable. It’s not a matter of if; it’s a matter of when.  We must take up the shield of faith in every situation, because we never know when the evil one is going to attack. The shield is always a soldier’s first line of defense. Our first line of defense is our faith in Jesus.
The helmet of salvation protects our mind. Through the salvation that Jesus offers us, our minds can be set free from the lies the devil tries to convince us of. If you feel like you’re worthless and unloved, it’s not true. Jesus died for you. That is how much you are loved. You can’t be worthless, because to Jesus you’re worth dying for. In order to shield our minds, we must put on the helmet of salvation.
Lastly, there is the sword of the Spirit. This is our only offensive weapon, and it’s all we need. The scripture says that it is God’s word. That’s right, the B-I-B-L-E, yes that’s the sword for me. The word of God is more powerful than all of the nukes in the world put together. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word, the Word was with God and the Word was God.” Jesus was the Word! In verse 14 John continues, “The Word became flesh and took up residence among us.” Jesus is the Word of God, the Bible, in the flesh. The armor of God begins and ends with Jesus, because He is the Word, the Alpha and the Omega. He is God.
WE CAN FIGHT BACK! Jesus is the way. If you choose to follow Christ, you are a soldier in God’s army. Your objective is the Gospel of peace. Stand strong in the armor of God, which begins and ends with Jesus Christ. As a child of God, you are a threat to the devil, so LEARN TO FIGHT. Live Heroically.
~Casey~

Food For Thought

1. What was the last spiritual battle that you walked away from wounded? Why?

2. Boxers have strengths and weaknesses; what areas of your life stand in need of strengthening?

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Track 5 Devotional: “Rat Race”




I don’t know about you, but life seems to get more hectic with each passing day. It’s so easy to get caught up in the here and now and let the “to-do” list run your life. When Josh and I wrote “Rat Race” that’s exactly how I felt! We wrote this in the fall of 2012 and things have a way of getting pretty hectic in the fall when it comes to church work. I was lost in a world of preparing for three Christmas programs, trying to keep up with all the various ministries in our church, trying to keep up with daily household needs and on top of that our pastor announced his retirement. I felt trapped in my never-ending to-do list and it just seemed to get longer each day. I was way passed exhausted and stressed. It got so bad that I just cried and cried in my doctor’s office when just going in for a regular checkup (my poor doctor)!

Have you ever felt this way, weighed down by the cares of life? Caught up in the rat race, as many like to call it? It’s a miserable place to be in and it’s not the life God has called us to live. One of my favorite verses is John 10:10, “The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly” (NKJV). God has called us to an abundant life, not a life chained down by schedules and stress. Yet, how do we find freedom from the rat race? We simply come. Come to the Father that loves and cares for you. “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. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:28-30, NIV). His yoke is so much easier to carry than the yoke that we take up for ourselves or that the world hands us. All we have to do is come.

Yet, all of this bears another question: why do we choose to get caught up in the rat race? Who are we seeking to please or what goal are we trying to achieve? I hate to admit it, but too often I’m caught up in the rat race trying to please others. I desperately want people to like me and because of that fact I struggle to say “no”. Are you the same way or is it something else? Perhaps you are desperate to achieve success or make more money. Maybe you’re trying to impress someone or try and feel better about yourself. Whatever the reason, we will not find satisfaction in those things. The only thing we need to be caught up in is Christ. “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you well” (Matthew 6:33, NIV). When we seek Christ He’ll take care of everything else! That isn’t a promise that things will be easy, but a promise that He will be there with you through it and more.

God doesn’t call us to run the rat race, but instead to “…run with perseverance the race marked out for us…” (Hebrews 12:1, NIV). Let’s set our sights on Christ and discover the abundant life He has for us!

-Ashley Adams

Questions to Ponder:
1. What things/people/places weigh me down in my life? Have I surrendered each of these to God?

2. Are there things in my life that I need to say “no” to in order to focus on the Lord more?

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

TRACK 4 DEVOTIONAL: Devil In A Bottle

TRACK 4 DEVOTIONAL: Devil In A Bottle

When he takes his seat on the bus for the ride home Jeremy is still laughing. His best friend has just told him a joke that still has him rolling. Every time he thinks he is done laughing he glances as Will and starts chuckling all over again. The first leg of the trip home is fine. Conversation keeps Jeremy in good spirits, but then Will gets dropped off at his house; Jeremy feels cold fingers of dread working their way into his stomach... in roughly ten minutes he will be home. After two more stops, Jeremy peers around the seat in front of him and through the front windshield of the bus he can see his house and the large black pickup parked in the driveway. Mommy isn't home. Daddy is. As the banshee wail of the breaks fills Jeremy's ears he feels a tightening in his chest that he has felt many times before. Unlike the other children who exit the bus and run playfully up the stairs to their front doors, Jeremy just stands at the edge of the driveway by the truck, watching as the bus rolls away and out of the neighborhood. He enters through the open garage door and glances inside the large plastic trashcan to the left of the steps leading up to the doorway. In the can he counts twelve empty, crushed beer cans and begins to tremble. That's two more than yesterday... and yesterday Daddy had been bad. He lets himself in, careful not to allow the screen door to slam behind him (that makes Daddy angry). As he enters the kitchen he hears his father's steps coming from the living room and heading his way. He hopes that his Daddy will be happy to see him or at the very least be ready to give him chores to do. Jeremy doesn't like chores but at least when he does them Daddy isn't angry. Sometimes Daddy even hugs him when he gets home, although that hasn't happened in weeks. But as Jeremy feared it isn't Daddy who walks through the doorway... it is the beast. It looks like Daddy but it eyes are bloodshot, its face and forehead red. It has the belt again, holding it with both hands so it can make that thunderous snapping sound that Jeremy has come to dread. The child doesn't know what he has done to make Daddy angry, but he knows why Mommy isn't home. She must have "smelt it on his breath" as she sometimes said. She must have found an excuse to work late. He doesn't blame her. He just wishes he could escape too.

ABOUT THE SONG
I wrote "Devil In A Bottle" to adress an issue which in recent years has become a very controversial topic in the church: alcohol. Now I have no intention of getting into a theological debate over whether the bible condones or condemns drinking, or whether jesus turned the water into Welch's grape juice at that wedding party. Instead I want to discuss the issue of abusing alcohol and what a dangerous thing it can be. In my time as a youth leader I have watched the effects of heavy drinking bring disaster into people lives and those of their families.
In the song there are two characters. The first is a teenaged girl who begins to drink. She thinks like so many others her age that being the party girl that can drink the boys under the table is going to establish her among her peers. She gets drunk on the weekends and every time she does she feels more of her inhibitions drop away, she likes the attention of the boys that gawk at her as she dances and shows off her body, and she thrives off the jealousy of the other girls that stand around pointing and shaking their heads. Nevermind that her grades are plummeting, she's got her looks and her friends. What she doesn't know is that they aren't jealous or enraptured as she "dances". They are laughing at her as she stumbles drunkenly around the room. They are telling stories about how she was hitting on every guy she could find and how she threw up all over the couch then actually DROVE HOME! If something doesn't change in her life this girl will throw her life away. She will look old much to young. The drinking and partying will take its toll on her looks and her future. She will make disastrous decisions that she won't even remember the next day. Her parents don't even know what she is doing. When she hits college it will get even worse. The other character is a man like the one in the introduction. He drinks under stress and doesn't even realize what a monster he has become. His wife misses the man who proposed to her so sweetly and his children suffer either his violent temper or just his drunken laziness. There was a time when he could drink a beer or two and stop but those days have been gone for a long time. Now he just comes in exhausted and overwhelmed from work and drinks until he runs out of cans.
Does drinking do this to every person? No. Could it? Yes. this song is a warning not a sermon. Drinking has ruined so many marriages and so many childhoods that one cannot help but ask if it is worth the risk at all.
Ephesians 5:18 - And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit;

Proverbs 20:1 - Wine [is] a mocker, strong drink [is] raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise.


     What should we be filled with? what should we allow to control us. What have we made our ruler? Scripture warns that being drunk works against the ability of the Spirit of God to work in our lives. It deceives us and dethrones the Holy Spirit in our lives. We have a name for someone who is a "deceiver" and desires to rules us and replace Jesus as our Lord: Satan. That is why this song is called Devil in a Bottle. If he can use excessive drinking to take control of you then he receives that excess as worship. Furthermore as a follower of Christ our first priority should be to glorify Him and not jeopardize our testimonies.

Romans 14:21 - [It is] good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor [any thing] whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak.

     One last thought for our teenage fans. If you are underage and have been drinking you are breaking the law.

James 4:17

So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.









FOOD FOR THOUGHT



1)Do I use alcohol or any other thing in my life to excess?






2)Do I allow things to exist in my life that will cause others to stumble?