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Thursday, April 28, 2005

A Few More Shout Outs.

Check out Derek Webb's The House Show & I See Things Upside Down. He is one frikin' good songwriter.

If you are in Europe, go see Luna Halo and Kevin Max over the next couple of weeks.

I have been a Dave Matthew Band fan for a long time, but I found this to be a little strange. The Black Eyed Peas will be opening a few dates for the Dave Matthews Band this summer. I guess crack and weed complement each other?!

I just came across Amy Stanfield's art. She is an amazing artist. Check out her site here.

Monday, April 25, 2005

New P.O.D. & Coldplay Music

P.O.D. is working on a new album, but it won't come out until later this year. You can sample some of the new material on the band's website. The site features clips of studio sessions, and an exclusive look into the recording.

Coldplay's new single is really good tune, Speed of Sound. The CD X & Y releases June 6th. Go here to hear and see more.

I hear that Michael Jackson is busy working on a new record too. Tentatively called "Don't Wanna Be Startin' Somethin". You have to know I'm joshing with you.

Friday, April 22, 2005

Larry King Live "What Happens After We Die?"

A few weeks ago I wrote about the visibility of religious and spiritual topics in the media. Last Friday once again I found myself watching TV and "What Happens After We Die?". Live with Larry King had guests from all across the faith spectrum. The President of American Atheists (let's call her PAA) was very engaging. I include this lady as a part of the faith spectrum because I believe that it takes faith to not believe in a higher power.

While the four gentlemen disputed several subjects, the PAA was there to just wait to shine the light right back on the four religious men, saying "look around right now on the show. These 4 men of faith can't even get along. If they all believe in God why can't they get along? Faith is about people in the end, not God. People want something that makes them deny the reality of dying. When you die, that's it." Host Larry King kept making passing comments to the PAA saying "it's just sad", meaning that it was sad that she just believed that we live life and then we die, nothing else. Where I agree that it is sad to have no hope for something after life, this lady better hope that she is right.

I don't really remember anything else that was applicable to the show's title "What Happens After We Die?" Most of the show was about questioning your faith. I have thought for quite a while that if you never question your faith, you can never get fully have faith. It wasn't until I questioned my faith and beliefs that God then met me where I was. A relationship with Jesus started and I began to lessen. I am grateful that I am dying as I live. Does that make sense? The stronger our faith grows, the less room we have for ourselves. Make no mistake, it can and will be painful.

Be alert to some of Larry's shows. He has many religious/ spiritual topics on the show.

Thursday, April 21, 2005

Sexuality, Meth (Drugs), and the Church

Drugs (meth)
Almost every other week or so I see and hear more and more about meth use. Those of you that know me well know that I have seen my sister go through a lot of drug related issues. Many of her "friends" use meth, and will probably meet their maker sometime over the next year. Check out this article about the rise of meth use among youth here.

Drugs aren't something that we talk about much within the walls of the church. You might hear a "say no to drugs" thing in the youth ministries, or small group setting, but other than that... We might not feel like we need to talk about drugs because drug users aren't the first people that come to mind when one thinks of church. The truth is I personally know several people who do certain kinds of drugs that attend church at least once or twice a month.

I'm not really trying to open up a major debates or anything. I am just thinking out loud. Thank you blogosphere.

Homosexuals & Heterosexuals
How is it that we can have homosexuality as the hot button, but we dismiss heterosexual porn? I personally have several gay friends that attend either my church or other churches in my area. A couple of guys that I talk to regularly really have issues with how the church (really high profile religious leaders) will be so quick to hit the scapegoat button with gays, but never address straight issues such as porn addiction.

When I used to lead and teach at our church's youth camps every year I would teach a class just for guys. We would cover topics from relationships and holiness, to pride and porn. After every class I would have a line of young teenage guys that wanted to talk about their addictions to porn. Obviously the church doesn't talk about some of these issues as much as we should. Probably because it is not a pleasant thing to speak on. It makes us all uncomfortable, and church should be a safe place and comfortable place, right?! It is easier to talk about pride, being a better person, tipping our servers more than 15%, and light weight issues, but sin is sin.

Just thinking out loud:)

*I feel like I must address the fact that some churches have ministries that deal with addictions, but not much comes from the stage.

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

My First Single

Artist, friend, and fellow Pastor of IKON Shaun Groves just let me know that his first single off of his new upcoming CD (White Flag), is going to be Bless The Lord. Jay Hall and I wrote this song a couple of years ago right after 9/11. We (Among Thorns) recorded it on the Draw Near CD, as well as another friend of mine Jason Morant on his debut CD Abandon, but it was never a single.

Bless The Lord has been a vehicle of worship at my church for a while now. It is very humbling to hear what the heart of the song means to people, very humbling indeed. Click here to order "Live At Home" (DVD @ The People's Church) which includes Bless The Lord, Mark Lee's Show Me Your Glory, Your Renown, and more.

Check out Shaun's site to hear more news on "White Flag".

Monday, April 18, 2005

UPDATE: Bands To Watch Out For

Franklin/Nashville based band Paramore has reportedly signed a deal with Atlantic Records, as well as a management agreement with Showdown Productions, one of the leading producer and artist management companies around. Some other guys I know from New Orleans also signed with Showdown, MuteMath (Teleprompt). Showdown Productions was founded and is owned by industry entrepreneur, kiwi (New Zealand) David Steunebrink.

Paramore will be out on tour with Copeland for several dates during May... Nashville (RCKTWN) May 4th. MuteMath is out for another month with Mat Kearney...Nashville (Exit-In) April 20 (this WED).

Friday, April 15, 2005

Enough Blue Like Jazz Already...

One of my favorite books is Blue Like Jazz. It speaks to so many of us that believe in the church and spirituality, but get frustrated when WE get in the way.

Don's book Searching For God Knows What is STRONG. I just finished it. If you got into Blue Like Jazz and you wanted it to get a little deeper...GO GET SFGKW. One chapter specifically rings loud...The Lifeboat. Once again Donald Miller is talking about things that we all have struggled with and will probably continue to struggle with this side of eternity. Everyone wants to be valued. We in America especially get blasted everyday by the imagery of what we should look like, drive, etc... All in hope that it will please our peers. "please don't throw me out of life's boat..please think that I am important, cool, and wanted."

If you haven't read Blue Like Jazz, you must. If you have, well you can pick where you left off, and go deeper with Searching For God Knows What. Donald elaborates on some of his passing thoughts and epiphanies . Have a good read.

Don, if you read this I enjoyed both books and will enjoy them for years to come...just like you say you enjoy "our" music (I still don't believe you). I know that you are somewhere starting Blue Like Jazz 2...hahaha

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Shout Outs- Part 2

First off, the new Mae CD is bliss! I heard them for the first time last year. I thought that they were great then, BUT this is a GREAT record! The Everglow moves from beautiful melodic piano driven emo to well written guitar rock. Lots of thoughts that will make you think.

I just have to say that Tooth & Nail Records have one crazy cool line up of bands. This label might have begun to take over the world.

If you have come from you have seen my friend Daniel's work at Angel Tear Design Studio. They do great website work. Click here.

Mat Kearney's debut CD is a good call for the world of Christian music, and soon the world will hear it thanks to a "mainstream" deal with Aware/Columbia. Mat blends lots of styles to lyric about his faith and life. Go here.

Sunday, April 10, 2005

Shout Outs- Part 1

This week is GMA Week (Give Me Attention...I mean Gospel Music Association) here in the Music City. After 6 straight years of rising early for interviews, networking, and shows this is my first year not to be a part of the crazy week that is GMA Week. I have to admit that it is bitter-sweet.

Peep out this great blog by Rhett Travis Smith, Director's Corner.

Stereophonics new CD (Language, Sex, Violence, Other?) is frikin' great! I also have to say that their site is one of the coolest web sites that I have EVER seen. Peep it out here.

Jen Abbas
has written a great book called Generation EX (Adult Children of Divorce and the Healing of Our Pain). A couple of years ago Jen interviewed me at one of my tour stops in MI. I got to share some of my story for her book.

Another book that I have just started is Jimmy by Amber Hartley. Amber is another wonderful writer that interviewed me a few years back at GMA Week. So far it is really clever. I am loving the new young writers!

If you live around the greater Nashville area and you have never been to Otter's Chicken Tenders, you otter go.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

The only building left stand in one region was the remains of a mosque.

Tsunami Rebuilding Efforts- Part 2

Here are some things that the 3 teams that went over to work in an area hit by the tsunami had a part in...

101,000 stranded victims rescued by fishing boat

580,000 people have fresh well water

4 schools back in operation

44 homes rebuilt or repaired

2.7 million meals served to the hungry & starving

42 fishing boats back in operation

384 orphans being supported and cared for daily

over 4000 orphans partially supported, waiting for American "Adoption".

Monday, April 04, 2005

Before the tsunami the shoreline used to be 150 to 200 yards further out from what is shown.

Tsunami Rebuilding Efforts- Part 1

Jennifer (my wife) just got back from helping with a team rebuilding some areas devastated by the tsunami of Dec. 26th. The region is being shaken literally in more ways than one. The Dec quake was 9.0, last Sat. they has a small 6.0, and then an 8.7 last Monday. Jen said that everytime the earth moves now, the people would run for higher ground. They all assiocate earthquakes with the tsunami now.

All of the stories of the people that Jen spent time with put things a little closer for viewing. We are all people created by the same process and face some of the same problems in life. BUT, for us to know the affects of a tsunami is almost TOTALLY foreign.

In Part 2 we'll talk more about what some of these teams did and what needs to be done from here. Hopefully the efforts will continue to be accepted and people will be willing to go help. Hope needs to be given and recieved for these wonderful people.