Archive for February 6th, 2011

February 6, 2011

Kari Jobe Interview – Revelation Song Healer You Are For Me

AAW: Your solo project from Integrity Music is filled with beautiful songs that not only express your heart, but are being used in churches all over. Share with us your experience working on this project… How long did it take? What are some of your highlights from that process?

KARI: This project was a desire of my heart for a really long time. A lot of the songs on this record came straight from my journals. It’s an expression of me pouring out my heart to God In moments of praise…as well as moments of brokenness. It was wonderful to finally have the CD recorded and ready to go because I knew it would allow me to step into a new season with God in what I was going to write about. It’s been an amazing journey as well since the CD came out. God has been blessing it and people are writing in constantly telling us what the songs are doing to help their churches and their personal lives!

AAW: One of the songs on the album, “Healer,” received a lot of controversy when a scandal was revealed with the songwriter. Could you share with us what made you decide to include that song on the album?

KARI: I wanted to keep it on the album because a lot of close family friends were receiving a lot of ministry from the song. I cried many tears over hearing the whole story…but I knew it was the truth about the word of God. I also want to be a change agent in my not just write people off when they fall or have sin revealed. To be a generation that shows grace and walks people through restoration in order to step back into the calling God has on their lives. No one is perfect…and we need to all cry out for His grace and strength to stand against the enemy and be strong. Some times those around us need our help. I felt that leaving this song on the album was a statement of grace…as well as not letting the enemy win since the song was already blessing so many. I’m so glad I left it on there!

AAW: Which song on the album was the most fun to write and/or record and why?

KARI: “Joyfully” was a lot of fun to write! It brought a smile to my face as we wrote this one! Ed Cash got the first part of the melody idea while helping his wife fold laundry…and then Ed, Mia Fieldes, and myself all sat down to fully craft the song. It was fun.

AAW: Could you share some helpful tips for co-writing? What have you found works well and does not work well?

KARI: You have to go in prepared with some ideas or at least some themes to work on. Give options of stuff you could write on so that the person or people you’re working with can see what they feel that they can connect to and run with. It’s also important to hear God on what songs you can co-write on and which one’s maybe He wants you and Him to finish. He’ll tell you.

AAW: If you could say one thing to all the young girls who are aspiring singers/songwriters, what would it be?

KARI: Journal, journal, journal. A lot of my songs come out of the time I spend with God. It’s also important to be a good steward of going back and crafting and really working on your songs. Most of them do not come in 2 minutes…the ones that really impact people’s lives are the ones that take a journey and process to write…be faithful to spend time with God, journal and see what happens!!

AAW: What can we expect from you in 2010-2011? What’s coming up?

KARI: A new album. New songs. New stuff!! : ) I’m writing and planning some new things now. Really excited about the direction God is taking me! I will give details and timelines through twitter and my website as I know the timing! : )

AAW: A question we ask at the end of every interview…share with us your most embarrassing moment while leading worship.

KARI: Oh goodness. Just one? Ha. I think one of them would be that as a service was starting, I greeted all the people and had them stand to their feet…then I said, “are you ready to worship the lamb of lambs?”…haha! It should be King of kings, or Lord of lords…not lamb of lambs. Hahahaha!


February 6, 2011

David Crowder Brand Talks About Latest Album Church Music In Interview – How He Loves Us Shine Like A Lion

David Crowder Band concert 

With David Crowder Band’s last album Remedy fans got an unusual glimpse into the making of the record via the band’s webcam, which recorded almost every move from the studio to the kitchen. It was a move that, in spite of some hesitation, the guys gave another go.

“We don’t learn from our mistakes,” David Crowder says with a laugh. “We had the cameras running. We also had live chats so that we could interact with people as they saw what was happening, which was quite fun.”

What the fans got an eye-full of was the makings of Church Music, their latest record. A band known for breaking the mold, DCB wanted to both embrace the familiar and stretch the imagination all in one musical experience.

“The phrase ‘church music’ came from a guy from Spin Magazine. I was having such a difficult time explaining to him what we are. To use the term ‘worship band’ — if you don’t have any context for what modern, progressive worship sounds like — does no good whatsoever. It was confusing to him.”

So David broke it down and explained that what the band really makes is “church music.” Then it clicked.

He says, ” As a country, we have a history of what congregational singing in the church is. [The music we made] gave him something to hold on to, but it also pushed on his limitations or expectations that he associated with the music of the church. The music he was excited about, he couldn’t believe it was coming from a Christian.”

The band has never been about blending in, and when other bands are trying to fit inside the Brit-rock model (“Everyone wants to sound like U2,” David says), DCB is finding ways to expand the definition of pop music.

“I love pop music. It’s what the majority of us are pulled to. Anytime you look at people who have written hymns, they always talk in terms of finding the language of the common people. The things that pop music does well seem to mirror a lot of what the hymns of the church or at least in the approach. So, we’ll take a straight forward pop song, then do some things that are not expected. So that there’s still some familiarity but there is still some criticism.”

The band saw a touch of controversy with their first single, “How He Loves”. It’s a popular worship song, written by John Mark McMillan, that became an Internet sensation when Kim Walker-Smith of Jesus Culture recorded the song live. In that version, the second verse goes:

So Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss

However, DCB’s version says:

So Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss

I had to ask, why the change?

“When I heard it, I was on a flight from Dallas to Denver, weeping like a little child. By the time we land, I grabbed the guys and said, ‘You have to listen to this. The people who are attached to our music need to be affected like I was.’”

As the band researched the song, they found that churches had been put off by the term “sloppy wet kiss”. David says that some found nothing appealing about it. Others thought that the word “sloppy” should never be associated with a God who is so precise and engaged in the lives of His people. As a band, they had a decision to make.

“I was disappointed in this,” he confesses. “It’s a shame that many church settings are missing out on this because of those words. It means that the metaphor didn’t work for some people. Those who love the song already have it and have experienced it. So it was a no-brainer. I’m very careful with what we put in front of people that gives [them] an understanding of who God is what He does, how He interacts with earth, and this is one place that I would not assign sloppiness.”

He adds, “We wanted to be responsible and allow more people to experience it. If we take some flak in the process, we’re used to it (laughs). It’s been fun, and it’s caused a lot of great conversation.”

February 6, 2011

Hillsong UNITED Releases 11th Album AFTERMATH

After a long wait of over two years, Hillsong UNITED has released its eleventh full-length and second studio album, entitled Aftermath. After their last release, Hillsong UNITED took some time for a season of rest in their local church. The band members took the time to challenge themselves musically and lyrically. Their efforts have paid off, because Aftermath offers a very fresh, creative collection of 12 new songs that explore the life-changes that occur in the “aftermath” of an encounter with Christ. The only song I already knew on this album was “Awakening”, from the recent Passion album, but that made sense when I realized the song was co-written by Chris Tomlin and Hillsong writer Reuben Morgan.

“I think we just wanted to create an album that didn’t follow all the rules and that we ourselves would want to worship to, whether we’re in the car driving home, on the train on the way to work or wherever we happen to be. We didn’t want to rely on what feels familiar,” says Hillsong UNITED’s Joel Houston.

“Normally ‘aftermath’ has a negative, even traumatic, connotation,” Houston says. “At the same time, when I look at the Crucifixion as an event, it paints an extraordinarily negative and horrific picture. But the aftermath of the Cross is hope for all mankind. It’s grace, freedom, peace, life and everything that is good about God. I absolutely love that picture.”

This album definitely has a unique sound for Hillsong UNITED, especially since it’s only the second studio album by the group. As much as I enjoy listening to a live worship album, there is something about a studio album like this that is really appealing. On the whole, I would say it is a more contemplative, reflective album compared to other UNITED albums. Many of the songs are very artistic, ranging in style from rock, to orchestral ballad, to all electronic music.

Some of the songs that stood out to me:

Track 1 – Take Heart (Joel Houston) This is not what I expected for the opening track of the album, and I think that’s what caught my attention. With its pounding, driving tom rhythms, this song sets the tone for the rest of the album – “Hold on to Hope, and take courage again”. Hope in the aftermath is a recurring theme on this album.

Track 3 – Like An Avalanche (Joel Houston) This is a beautiful song that speaks of the paradox of Jesus, the King, becoming a servant for us, and of His humbling, amazing grace.“And I find myself here on my knees again, caught up in grace like an avalanche”. Again, the driving, syncopated rhythms, especially on the bridge, and the outstanding vocal duet make this a standout track!

Track 4 – Rhythms of Grace (Chris Davenport, Dean Ussher) I really enjoyed the progression of this song from a nice, lilting 6/8 song to a driving, syncopated, rhythmic, multi-layered offering of exuberant worship!

Track 7 – Bones (Jill McCloghry, Joel Houston) When this song started, I thought I was back in the ‘80s with the heavy synth pads, which continued to be the driving sound of the whole song. But, as the song went on, the sounds seemed to fit perfectly with the lyrics “You can take my dry bones, breathe life into this skin”. It actually became a fresh sounding, driving anthem of crying out for the Holy Spirit to revive us again!

Bonus Track – Search My Heart (Radio version) ( Joel Houston, Matt Crocker) This radio version of “Search My Heart” (Track 11), is one that will surely catch on in many churches! It is a cry of commitment and dedication “With all my heart, and all my soul, with all I am, Lord I will follow You”. An inspiring anthem that is easy to sing, and one that I can’t wait to use!

February 6, 2011

Bestselling Christian Artist & Worship Leader Chris Tomlin Talks About Getting Married & Wedding His Wife Lauren & New Album And If Our God Is For Us – Our God I Will Follow You I Will Rise



Chris Tomlin - I Will Follow [Single] (2010)




So you’ve had a busy week! Wanna share a highlight with us?

Chris: Well there’s a little something called getting married. It’s a little side project I’ve been working on (haha). No, seriously, it trumps everything. It’s awesome. That’s been a long time coming for me.

Big wedding? Small wedding? And be honest—were you nervous?

Chris: It was a small wedding—just our families and some close friends. I was a little nervous, mainly thinking ‘I want to get this right.’ But it’s been awesome so far. She’s amazing.

Your publicist was joking about how timely it was to get married right at the release of the new album. But looking back on your year, it doesn’t seem like there was much down time anywhere! Not only is your new project out… you also just received a huge honor for your previous one [Hello Love]. What has it been like to achieve something like that.

Chris: Yes… Hello Love going gold is quite humbling and I’m thankful and continually amazed by that. Particularly in these days and times… how music is sold. That’s very rare. So I’m like, ‘Wow! What in the world?’

Given the success of that project, how do you feel about the new direction the new album goes sonically?

Chris: We’ve definitely moved forward in the way that it sounds and people are responding. They’re saying, ‘Man this is different and it’s exciting.’ Or ‘Man this is different and I don’t like it.’ But at least they’re saying it’s different and I like that. It’s been ten years since I released my first record. After ten years, it’s easy to set cruise control and make songs that people will like or not because they liked [or didn’t like] my past music, but I’m not looking at that. I’m not just banking on making songs that are going to find a way to be a voice for the people in the church. And they’re just as exciting and powerful as those in the past. I’m really thankful for those in the past and what kind of doors it’s opened up for me and Passion and our church. Music is the universal language of the world. It’s really cool to be writing songs to give people the words to say what their hearts are feeling.

I love the new takes on production. And I know [producer] Ed Cash (Bebo Norman, Matt Wetz, and others) brought a lot to the table in terms of different musical structures. But the message is still pretty much the same… songs speaking to the church. I’m guessing that’s very intentional.

Chris: There are so many important songs for the church. That hasn’t changed at all. I haven’t gone into a new world of music or different genre. I’m still doing the same thing, which I’m excited about. I don’t want to leave people behind. This is what God’s given us. I want to do something that’s exciting and great to listen to, but also what hits the heart of worship and worshipping.

You’ve always been clear that, to you, worship is absolutely a lifestyle and not just a genre or a set up on a stage somewhere. Now that you’re married and have a new role as leader of your household, how do you plan on bringing that sense of worship into your home?

Chris: I ran into this worship leader in Brazil this year and we were talking about my upcoming wedding. I remember him looking at me and saying (through a translator), ‘If you can’t lead your own bride, you definitely can’t lead the bride of Christ.’ That’s what it’s about. Hopefully I can be the same to her as I would be on the stage.

The album is called, And If Our God is For Us. That entire phrase: ‘And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?’ is so encouraging and delivered with such conviction. But do you ever get in a place where it’s hard to believe that? In other words, has life… the real world… ever brought you to a point that shakes your certainty of God’s sovereignty? Or, have you met other people in that same place? What do you say to yourself or them?

Chris: The beautiful thing is these songs are for the real world… and that’s what it’s all about. That’s scripture. God is for us whenever life comes at you. We do worship a God that’s greater than all things that could ever come against it. It’s not a matter of ‘our God can beat up your God.’ There’s none like Him. That’s what we put our trust and our hope in.


February 6, 2011

Christian Artists Francesca Battistelli and Meredith Andrews Welcome New Babies!

Rising stars Francesca Battistelli and Meredith Andrews  both welcomed their first children this month.

Francesca Battistelli and BabyFrancessca Battistelli and son Matthew Elijah Goodwin

Francesca and husband Matt Goodwin, who plays with Newsong and most recently has been playing drums for his wife, welcomed Matthew Elijah Goodwin this past Wednesday, September 22. Matthew, Jr. weighed in at a little over 8 lbs. The happy couple recently celebrated their 1-year wedding anniversary and moved to Atlanta. Battistelli performed right up until her due date. Her second studio album is slated to release in early 2011.

Meredith Andrews and BabyMeredith Andrews and son Maverick Elijah Sooter

Fellow label artist Meredith Andrews gave birth to her first child earlier this month. Meredith and her husband Jacob Sooter, who plays guitar for Jeremy Camp, welcomed Maverick Elijah Sooter to the world the morning of September 1. The Sooters’ son weighed just over 8 lbs as well. The couple currently resides in Chicago where Meredith continues to lead worship at Harvest Bible Church on a regular basis. When she’s not leading worship, she’s out on the road promoting her “other” baby, her sophomore release, As Long As It Takes(Word).

For more info on these new moms,


February 6, 2011

Third Day Band’s Mac Powell Talks About New Album Move In Interview The Recording Process & Fan Response – Revelation Cry Out To Jesus Born Again Children Of God


third day MOVE

He’s simply walking through the parking lot of the Murray Arts Center, an unassuming guy in black jeans and shades.

But still, there is that aura, something in his gait, maybe the longish hair, that radiates Somebody Famous.

As he walks, a middle-aged man approaches.

“You’re Mac, right?”

“I am, yes. And what’s your name?”

And so goes a cordial minute-long conversation between Mac Powell, lead singer of Third Day, and a random fan.

It happens frequently around metro Atlanta that the members of one of Christian music’s most popular and successful bands get recognized doing mundane tasks.

But that’s to be expected when you’re year-old inductees into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and have won four Grammy Awards and sold more than 7 million albums.

On Oct. 19, Third Day releases its 11th album, “Move,” which the band recorded at its new Kennesaw studio, nicknamed The Quarry partially because of the actual quarry nearby, but also because the band thought, this is where the rock comes from.

Last week, positioned in a recording studio at the arts center, the quartet — Powell, drummer David Carr, bassist Tai Anderson and guitarist Mark Lee — talked excitedly for an hour about the freedom of working in their own studio, the gospel-rock elements on “Move” and their upcoming tour.

“Move” is Third Day’s first release since guitarist Brad Avery, a member for 13 years, departed, an occurrence that naturally affected the band’s dynamic.

“From a musical standpoint, it’s been interesting because the four of us started the band and he came in a year and a half after that. So in a way, this album is more of a return to our musical roots — a Southern, American-rock record,” said Anderson.

“When Brad left, it was a big crossroads for us musically,” added Lee. “We talked about, do we need to have somebody else in there because they’re big shoes to fill. But the decision was, let’s don’t. So we did a few shows to see how it sounded and from the first show — yes, it was a little rocky — everybody felt like they needed to step up more. So it helped to improve us as a band, how we interact musically.”

Along with recording at a central location where they could work the closest they ever have to a traditional 9-5 schedule and have breakfast and dinner with their families every day (all of them have kids), the guys believe that their recognition by the Hall of Fame served as inspiration.

“I don’t know how much (the induction) means to our fans outside of Georgia, but we’re so proud to be from here. We tell people every night onstage, whether we’re in Slovakia or Australia or Birmingham, Ala., where we’re from,” said Powell. “That’s something that comes through in our music.”

Anderson agreed, but noted that in the past, the band, which has an international fan base, might have reined in any sounds that were too Southern rock.

This time, though, “It was like, let’s let our Georgia flag fly a little bit.”

The album features haunting background vocals from the Blind Boys of Alabama on “Lift Up Your Face” and a sumptuous choir to complement Powell’s muscular vocals on “Follow Me There.”

The songs fit perfectly under the banner of gospel rock, a category that is a slight departure from Third Day’s usual pop-rock leanings.

“Gospel is an easier word for people to digest than Christian sometimes,” said Carr. “I think a lot of people think they know what we do and then we have to validate it a little bit.”

The band won’t necessarily have to worry about validating itself to the crowds attending the “Make a Difference Tour,” a monthlong outing with Michael W. Smith, TobyMac, Jason Gray and author/preacher Max Lucado that starts this week in Ohio.

The idea behind the tour is to challenge churchgoers to be better Christians and, said Anderson, change the world for the better.

Since Third Day has existed for almost 20 years, that translates into a robust and dedicated fan base.

The band works diligently to return that loyalty with frequently updated Facebook and Twitter feeds, special online listening parties and chats and, coming soon, a catalog of all of their past live shows available for streaming.

But, what about expanding that fan base, of crossing into the mainstream to court radio play and late-night talk show appearances?

It’s a topic the band has discussed, argued and prayed about for years.

And the answer is now firm.

“We’re a band that yes, we make great music, but we also communicate a faith message and that’s why our fans love us,” said Anderson. “I think it’s never a successful formula with any genre of music to abandon your core to try to have greater success. The real successes aren’t the crossovers, but the spillovers.”

February 6, 2011

Lecrae’s Rehab The Overdose Debuts At Number 1



(Atlanta) – In the wake of the success of his two previous CD’s (Rebel and Rehab), Christian rapper LeCrae has once again landed on familiar territory with his latest CD, Rehab: The Overdose, which debuted at #1 on both the Billboard’s Christian and Gospel charts; number 5 on the Rap Chart and # 15 on Top 200. With a robust 22,000 units, Rehab: The Overdose should put to rest any doubt as to the ascendency of the Christian Rap genre. “It’s an honor and a blessing that my fans are supporting me with this project,” LeCrae says. “I appreciate their support and recognition of the messages that I am dedicated to delivering to the masses.”

Nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album for Rehab, LeCrae will be the featured opening act on selected dates with the upcoming Rock & Roll Worship Roadshow alongside groups like MercyMe, Jars of Clay and Thousand Foot Krutch. A dedicated humanitarian, LeCrae also plans to spend time with his outreach efforts of working with disenfranchised youth.

For more information, please visit LeCrae’s website at

LeCrae’s Tour Dates With the Rock and Roll Worship Roadshow
February 24 – Corpus Christi, TX American Bank Center
February 25 – El Paso, TX Don Haskins Center
February 26 – Lubbock, TX City Bank Coliseum
February 27 Colorado Springs, CO World Arena
March 3 Boise, ID – Taco Bell Arena
March 4 Missoula, MT – Adams Center
March 5 – Seattle, WA Key Center
March 6 – Portland, OR Memorial Coliseum
March 10 – Ontario, CA Citizens Bank Arena
March 11 – Phoenix, AZ US Airways Arena
March 12 – Sacramento, CA Arco Arena
March 13 – Fresno, CA – Savemart Center


February 6, 2011

Third Day Move Album Review




It’s been two years already since Third Day released their first studio record as a foursome (after original guitarist Brad Avery left to pursue other interests). Revelation was a return to a more southern rock approach after their successful more contemporary release, Wherever You Are. Now, with a brand new project, titled Move, Third Day channels even more of their southern roots, harkening back to their earlier days, especially the acoustic-driven Time, and marries it with the rock flair of Revelation. The end result? A healthy helping of southern hospitality that grooves and rocks hard at times and offers more of the worshipful songs fans have come to expect from the band.



Third Day has been on a roll. Revelation was a grand step in the right direction after Wherever You Are, and Move is the next step in the band’s current musical evolution. Right out of the gate, Move is off to an intense start with “Lift Up Your Face,” an edgy southern rock number that was cowritten with the Rinehart brothers from NEEDTOBREATHE and features smart vocal support from The Blind Boys of Alabama. It’s soulful and it’s destined for getting stuck in the listener’s head. From there, “Make Your Move” has that edgy, gutsy rock attitude that “You Make Me Mad” had on Conspiracy No. 5. It’s got a delicious baseline and an undeniable Third Day sound. But after these two grand openers, any fan of the band’s lighter work will be relieved to hear “Children Of God” – a softer, more worshipful approach that could have fit on either of the Offerings projects as it features the New Hope Academy Children’s Choir for support. The track works well, but being sandwiched between “Make Your Move” and the anthemic “Surrender” is an odd choice. It throws off the album’s momentum a bit, especially when the track closes with just the Children’s Choir echoing the chorus.



“Surrender” leads off the remainder of Move with a return to the edgier sound of the album’s beginning, but utilizes Mark Lee’s skillful guitar talents and string accompaniment to give it a bit of a backporch twang before it goes for a rather epic ending. It’s quite easily another highlight on the record. But from here, Move begins to lose steam just a bit. Each track that follows can stand on its own, but the album gets off to such a strong start that it might be asking too much for them to keep it going throughout the entire tracklisting. Even on Revelation, they made the wise decision to push the infectious “Otherside” to the middle of the record to keep the album from being too top-heavy. At the same time, it’s difficult to disregard the rest of the record as filler since each track has highlight moments.



Thanks to Paul Moak’s lively production, Move‘s softer moments never feel sanded down or over-produced to satisfy most daytime radio listeners (like how much of Wherever You Are sounded). “Trust In Jesus” is an encouraging anthem for the Christian life while “Follow Me There” has pounding drums and a piano lead for a song that sounds like it could have easily fit on Time. “Gone” is a feisty acoustic rocker featuring background vocals from NEEDTOBREATHE front man Bear Rinehart and also has that Time feel. “What Have You Got To Lose” is a ballad encouraging listeners to lay their burdens down, with the unashamedly southern twang of “I’ll Be Your Miracle” following. “Everywhere You Go” picks things up a bit once again with an infectious rhythm and chorus (“Everywhere You go, will you take me with You? / Everywhere You lead, I want to be by Your side. Everyone You love, I want to love just like You love me. Everywhere You go, I want to go there“). “Sound of Your Voice” is the album’s latest acoustic duet, this time featuring labelmate Kerrie Roberts. It isn’t quite as memorable as Revelation‘s “Born Again,” which featured Flyleaf’s Lacey Mosely, but it’s a wonderful worship original. To close the record, Third Day offers another encouraging anthem, “Don’t Give Up Hope,” to leave the listener with a reminder, once more, that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. It’s an effective way to close a strong album.



While some of the real standout songs seem to cause a few of the album’s later tracks to blend together and pale in comparison, repeat listens breathe more life into those songs. In the end, Move showcases some of the best Third Day has to offer. Whether it’s better than Revelation or some of their other previous installments (like Wire or Conspiracy No. 5) is something to leave up to the listener to decide, but it does feel safe enough to say that Third Day’s Move is a dozen tracks of southern rock goodness.


February 6, 2011

Lecrae REHAB: The Overdose Review





Lecrae returns with fifth solo album: Rehab: The Overdose. The grammy-nominated Rehab sold over 25,000 in its first week while charting on the Christian, Gospel and Billboard Top 200 charts. The follow up sold just over 21,000 in the first week. The Overdose conveys the message of recovery and redemption.

Overdose starts out hard with the Street Symphony produced response record to Rick Ross’ BMF. Responding to a song by rhyming with a similar flow may not have been the best choice but the message was conveyed. Lecrae says: “you think your ballers you just some foul shooters.” More of Christ is essential in our daily lives. Lecrae brings the fire and passion over the Kadence produced cut. This track sounds like Go Hard 2.0. Perfect track leading into the Battle Song. With the Kanye style flow Lecrae states, “They can kill us now go get the yellow tape/A put me 6 feet in the group and watch a great escape. I promise aint a sick shooter that can keep me down/My God is so official that’s a technical foul.” Suzy Rock on the hook adds flavor however her verse was too light for this Tony Stone produced song. D-Flow provides the soundtrack to Anger Management. I love the concept and content with Lecrae and Thisl sharing about dealing with anger. Lecrae adds, “People pop off at the mouth I tried to keep it cool/All I want to do is fix’em trouble shoot’em.” At the end of the song Lecrae offers a mini sermon about the song which I felt could have been left off because the lyrics effectively articulated the message. Blow Your High is a cool song about the danger of engaging in sinful acts to achieve a high. The hook is catchy and adds depth to the song. Canon’s twista-like verse was good but I would like to have hear with more punchline style flows instead of fast moving rhymes. Strung Out is a Cheesebeats produced banger. Personifying sin as a lady fits perfect with the hook saying, “how could I love when I you ever did was wrong/how could I trust you you lied to me all along.” Lecrae articulates what sin does but faith in Christ can set you free. Selfish ambition can cause a person to Chase That instead of Christ. The PK produce song allows the listener to see ambition from a biblical lens. When Christ guides your vision then then you can experience The Good Life. Dj Official offers his production expertise on the J. Paul assisted song. Lecrae tastefully uses autotune on Like That as he encourages ladies to look at Ephesians 5 as their base for how a man should treat his wife. Overdose ends with Lecrae and Swoop Going In.

Overdose is the latest installment in the Rehab series. Lecrae experiments with a few new topics while remaining content in familiar territory. High quality production with razer sharp lyrics cuts through your ears. Several songs didn’t have commercial appeal sonically and lyrically. The big question to fans is whether Rehab is more enjoyable than Overdose. My view is Rehab overall is a better project than Overdose. More bangers doesn’t mean better album. Rehab tackled more issues and concepts with intriguing guest appearances. Overdose at times didn’t feel like a new album. With 11 the great songs overshadow good songs. Lecrae is consistently producing great albums. New album 2012?

Purchase on iTunesAmazonMP3, or

Release Date: January 11, 2011

Label: Reach Records

1. Overdose
2. More
3. Battle Song ft. Suzy Rock
4. Anger Management ft. Thi’sl
5. Blow Your High ft. Canon
6. Strung Out
7. Chase That Intro
8. Chase That (Ambition)
9. The Good Life ft. J. Paul
10. Like That
11. Going In ft. Swoope




February 6, 2011

Phil Wickham In The Studio Finishing Up New Album! – Heaven And Earth, Canons, True Love Died, Safe



I’m a huge Phil Wickham fan so I’m super excited to hear that Phil’s putting the finishing touches to his new album to be released in the near future.


He talked about this latest journey on Twitter saying:


“I’m so thankful for the team of people involved in the recording of the new record. It’s been an awesome experience!”


Congrats Phil! Can’t wait to hear the new songs.

February 6, 2011






Margaret Feinberg shared in an interview recently how she keeps the passion in her relationship with Jesus fresh.

“This may sound so unspiritual,” Feinberg answered, “but I try to make sure I’m getting enough sleep. I carve out mornings when I allow my body to drink in as much sleep as it needs.”


Well to that I say,’Somebody turn off my alarm clock and pass me my slumber mask.’  I’m trying to keep my passion fresh.


On a serious note, Feinberg ended by saying,

“In addition, I love to read what I call Bible nerd books. I read commentaries, studies on ancient Israel and obscure books that really feed my spirit and soul. And Leif and I read a Walter Bruegermann prayer aloud together.”


I can already here someone say, “Who’s Walter Bruegermann?”  To that I say: Look it up.




February 6, 2011

Rob Bell Says He ‘Hates Blogging’ – Mars Hill Church Cedar Rapids, MI Author SexGod, Velvet Elvis & Drops Like Stars & Nooma

Rob Bell hates blogging!

In the latest issue of Relevant Magazine, during the question and answer interview with Rob Bell (see previous entries to verify I’m all for Rob Bell) he says:

“You have to be totally disconnected from the pain of the world to think that blogging is somehow a redemptive use of your time. I guess I have some strong thoughts on that.”

Ok, to be fair. the question was about how he deals with critics. It was a fairly long answer that dealt with how that “…the world is an emergency, it’s on fire. It’s drowning, it’s an absolute crisis..” and that followers of Jesus can think of nothing better to do than pick apart the work of other followers who are trying to do something to help the world. So I think he is referring to the blogs dedicated to criticizing him and others.

He also has some interesting things to say about what church is. And that anytime a church is large it is reason to be questioned. By large he means 20-30 people.

Hoping 2008 is a year of new starts for you and me. I know I could use some in a number of areas.


I thought this was a provocative quote.  And I thought it worth considering how much time is spent blogging.  But I do think there are times that it can be very much a good use of time.  I also thought it worth considering if you spend your time criticizing or arguing about others beliefs that claim to follow Jesus.  But apparently some outside arguments that are part of what Rob Bell is speaking of came over here to continue their arguing.  So anybody got any comments about blogging or church size?


February 6, 2011

An Interview With Rob Bell Mars Hill Church Cedar Rapids, MI Author SexGod, Velvet Elvis & Drops Like Stars & Nooma




Rob Bell is the Pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church, one of the largest and fastest growing churches in America. However, this is no run-of-the-mill mega church. For starters, it took us forever to find the place. We had the physical address but drove by it three times before realizing that it was in an old mall. It is curious that a church without even a small sign could grow to over eight thousand people. The ministry of Mars Hill is what draws the crowd, and they definitely do not judge their effectiveness by the size of their steeple, or sign for that matter.

Vic Cuccia: I heard somewhere that you play guitar and you were once in a punk band, is that true?

Rob Bell: I am a total hack musician. In college I was in a band. I cut my teeth on Primus, Chili Peppers, Pixies, Violent Femmes, Midnight Oil…that was on the stereo all the time. I had a band with my best friends called Ton Bundle. We were underage so we would get gigs at clubs in Chicago and then literally wait in the alley until it was time to go on so that we wouldn’t get carded or anything. Then we would run on, do the fastest sound check ever and then play.

I was the lead singer…I did a whole James Brown thing, I would like start to faint and fall over and they would bring a cape out…it was nuts. One of the guitar players was like “yeah dude I was the head trombone player” so we would do a little Celebration by Cool and the Gang, right after we did a song by the Pixies, it was completely bizarre, and great fun.

Stylistically, how would you categorize what you did?

That band was in ’89 to ’91 when alternative meant something. Because you had Bon Jovi and then all of the sudden this guy named Kurt Cobain came along and everything changed. Prior to that you had like Mariah Carey or Bon Jovi but then you had this thing that was kind of emerging with Smashing Pumpkins and bands like that. Now that sound is just the mainstream but back then it was something new and different…I have great memories of those days.

Did you guys ever tour?

No, we didn’t. Our senior year of college the band fell apart and broke all of our hearts. The breakup of the band was actually me saying, “I got to go to Seminary and be a Pastor.”

Now you are a Pastor of one of the largest churches in America. Are there any similarities that you can draw on from be the leading singer in a band to being a Pastor?

Well, when you’re in a band, if you aren’t connecting with people they leave, they just walk out. No one has any allegiance to a band. What do people say,? “I’m going to go check out a band,” which means “I am to go stand in the back and if they aren’t very good I’m going to leave.” So when I got into Seminary and I did my first sermons I asked the question “why would we spend time doing something that isn’t great?” Nowhere else in your life do you give your time things that aren’t great. You don’t go sit through movies that you don’t like. You don’t pay for things that aren’t of a certain caliber that compel you in a certain way. So when I got into teaching my assumption was that the Jesus revolution ought to be the best thing going or do something else.

To this day I meet people who go to church because their supposed to; I absolutely cannot begin to comprehend that. You don’t do this in any other area of your life. You know you meet people who say they are just going through the motions, well why? You don’t do that, you take that CD out and put another CD in, I don’t get it. So back to the question, I guess being in a band has shaped me in some profound ways.

So now you are the Pastor of Mars Hill Church. Why did you choose that name?

Mars Hill comes from the book of Acts chapter 17. There was this hill in the city of Athens where the philosophers, thinkers and poets would exchange all the latest ideas. Paul, one of these first Christians goes in and enters into this discussion and he is really humble and smart and quotes their own writers and poets and thinkers and philosophers. He actually does this really brilliant sermon using their categories of thought.

My assumption is always that a Christian is not hanging out in some sort of anemic little subculture with C-grade art and music. They are in the middle of everything exchanging ideas and they are humble and smart about it. They aren’t just out offending people telling them that they are wrong but they actually love people enough to engage them where they are at. So Mars Hill was built on this assumption that a church should be at the center of culture engaging with whatever the latest ideas are.

From being here on Sunday I would guess there is somewhere between 8,000 to 10,000 people who are a part of Mars Hill. What is it that makes Mars Hill different than your typical mega church?

Any pastor that would answer that, I would be very skeptical. I am as skeptical of the mega church as anybody. In fact I am more skeptical, because I have seen things that people who would say they are cynical of the mega church haven’t seen. So I am just as skeptical as anybody. When you get big and God together, there is trouble there. So you have to be very, very careful. We’ve just simply asked, “all these people have gathered so what are we going to do?” We are going to try to draw attention to all of the causes and people who have no voice and no one is listening to. So we are going to try to help single moms, people in poverty, people who have lost their job, people who nobody will listen to.

We believe that anytime a crowd gathers if you don’t immediately start asking “how can we use this crowd and this gathering to promote the kind of thing that God cares about?” If you don’t ask that question, it becomes about yourself. Then yeah, something really destructive is going on. I think when people say they don’t like mega churches, I think people are scared because they know that when things get big their natural arc is to be all about themselves, so you’re building bigger buildings etc. Like yesterday, I was talking about Marilyn Manson who said, “it’s all relative to the size of your steeple.” It just becomes this giant ego show. We just try to strip it all away. What is this beautiful thing that we are all compelled by? Then let’s pursue that.

We are sitting here in what was an old mall, built in the 70’s or 80’s. Most churches this size would be looking for property to build a large nice facility to house all these people. Any intentions to do anything like that?

(Bell laughs) We are trying to preach sermons to free up some seats. I don’t know, in one of the most dangerous and under resourced neighborhoods in our city there is a warehouse. I would love to move in there. I think there is somewhere we could go but we would want it to be shabbier than this.

So no intentions of the giant steeple anytime soon…

Oh I don’t know how you could ever do that and still have your soul. I guess some people do, God bless them, and that is on the record, but I don’t know how.

I am actually in a church where that is the focus. We are in a 13 million dollar facility where we still owe 8 million and we are about to cast a vision for another 4 million dollar addition. Honestly, it is the kind of thing that breaks my heart and it is one of the reasons I am at this conference.

(Bells leans down close to the recorder) 4 million dollars! Wow you could feed a lot of hungry people for that!

Tell me about the “Everything is Spiritual Tour.” What was it and how did you come up with it?

Most of my days I wake up and I work on things that I am creating. So sometimes it will be like, that’s a sermon series, ok that’s a book, and we make these short films called Noomas, ok that’s a film. I was working on this thing called Everything is Spiritual for like 3 years and it was like a sermon on steroids but it didn’t fit in any of the mediums that I usually work in. So I thought, “I think this is like a club or a theatre, I just walk out and do a two hour talk.” So I told a friend of mine who is in a band. I told him I have this idea to do a club tour. Also, we had a lot people asking, when are you coming to Seattle? Dayton? Florida? So I thought “I’ll just go to all these cities, where apparently I have friends. So I said to my wife “what if we lived on a bus for a month and did a different city every night and took the family and see what happens?”

So my friend said I’ll hook you up with a guy who can book all the venues. I did it in July with my family and it was just awesome. You wake up every morning in a new city and each night I would do the talk. We filmed it so it will be out as a film in a little while. We gave all the money to WaterAid which is a British organization that builds sustainable water systems for people who have no drinking water. That’s wrong and we think that pisses Jesus off, that people don’t have water, so we are trying to do something about that. I just loved it, we are going to do it again, it was great.

I actually caught the Jacksonville stop.

(Bell laughs) Jacksonville was the one where the train came by and I had to stop for about a minute it was crazy.

It was also the one with no AC! Can you get a venue next time in Florida with AC? I can handle the smell of beer and vomit, but hot beer and vomit…

(Bell, laughing more) Hot beer and vomit that is something special right there…a couple of the clubs were just full on punk clubs with the low ceilings and smell like the end of the world and I just couldn’t have been happier. Some of those clubs I would walk into and be like, I would rather be nowhere else than here tonight. It’s things like that, that get you back to why you do what you do. I mean I can hang out here in Grand Rapids in this huge church and that is wonderful but a couple hundred people in Jacksonville…that’s awesome, I just loved it.

So the band never toured but now you have. Your ministry has created some controversy particularly among some more traditional churches and leaders, why do you think that is?

I think that what a lot of people call religion is actually fear. I think they say it is historic Christianity but I think it is a lot of terror and fear and shame and all sorts of other darkness, so they are not free. They are bound and terrified and working very hard to preserve and prop up whole systems and ways of thinking, living and believing things that are actually totally destructive. So I assume that sometimes those are the real issues. When people criticize you it says much more about them. For that matter when people praise you it says more about them. I don’t read reviews, I don’t read blogs, I don’t Google my name…it just has no place in my life, I don’t know what good that would do.

As a pastor what would you say to someone who has become disillusioned with organized church or what they have seen of Christianity?

I would wager that the things that most turn them off are the things that most turn Jesus off. There is not one instance in Jesus’ teachings where he gets angry with somebody who isn’t a follower of his or someone who doesn’t love God. His anger is always for religious people who claim to speak for God but live in another way. So if you find hypocrisy absolutely revolting so did Jesus. If you find people who think they are the moral police of culture repulsive, so did Jesus. If you find people who are ready to throw stones at the next sinner very hard to take, so did Jesus. And if you think that people who use Jesus to accumulate political power, to coerce people to live according to their laws, well Jesus had a problem with such things as well. I would say that your anger is shared by Jesus. He’s angered by all the same things.

It is my understanding that a few weeks ago you got very sick and were not able to speak on Sunday so you decided to show an interview with Bono and Bill Hybles, talking about faith and the aids pandemic, instead of doing a regular sermon. How did people respond to that?

We got great feedback, people were just like, “that was so awesome.” What most thrilled me is the number of people who were like, “yeah we have been hearing that, that is what it really means to be a Christian.” That made me really proud of our people. That is how God is and that is where God’s story always goes, to those who are poor and oppressed, it always goes there. He was born in a manger, how much more do we need.

Unfortunately it seems that many Christians and leaders for that matter seem to have missed this major point of the message.

I think it is really important for people to understand that they live in the empire. The empire is all throughout the Scripture whether it is Egypt or Rome. We’re the empire. There are whole systems of our culture that are devoted to protecting us and our empire. That is how it works, King Solomon built lots of military fortresses and lots of energy has to be spent preserving your empire. So in many ways it is like water people are swimming in. Unless you drag them up on the beach and say “can you see”, they don’t see it.

There is a new Hummer dealership in our town. In America they call a Hummer an SUV, in the rest of the world, it is a military vehicle! People in America use military vehicles to get groceries. So many people are so saturated, they are swimming and underwater in the empire and they don’t go, “wait a second what is going on here.” Then some people get the gift of seeing things from the outside and go, “wait God is going to judge us for what we do with all this wealth, ingenuity and entrepreneurial power, we’re going to be judged.”

A lot of the way you write and teach has to do with asking questions. What would you say to the person who says that too many questions regarding theology and the church can result in a lack of confidence or faith?

Jesus’ teaching is always about how you live and how you act in the world. So for us the questions are never the goal. The questions simply are the natural human response to the difficulty of sorting through what it means to be a person of faith. So if I am serious about taking Jesus’ call upon myself, taking his yoke and doing what he said to do and living how he said to live, a kingdom kind of life. If I am really serious about it, there is going to be a conflict here because the world I live in is not oriented around the Kingdom of God. So I am going to have to wrestle through exactly what that means and that is going to raise some questions but that is not the goal, it never has been and it not a very admirable goal. The goal is that the question, like everything else, would serve the greater thing here and that is us being the hands and feet of Jesus. So our goal has always been to find out how to be the people of Jesus here and do it. So yeah if there were all sorts of esoteric mumblings from the top of the mountain in the lotus position, that is not a very noble or worthy cause, but we are trying to figure out how to act here.

So to question certain issues of theology or tradition is to try to determine how to live this out rather than, let’s fight over this.

For instance a lot of Christians have really warped views about people from other religions. They don’t even know how to interact. They can’t even be human with someone who isn’t exactly like them. That’s a humanity issue and God calls us to respect the image of God in all of God’s image bearers. So we need to challenge the theology that wants to label all the world into these nice neat boxes and that wants to condemn these people because we’re so great. We need to challenge something because it gets in the way of the very thing Jesus calls us to be. Love your neighbor. If you can’t even conceive of your neighbor outside of this giant label, if you have never read their sacred texts and you can make these grand statements about their eternal destiny then how are you ever going to love your neighbor? You have no voice with them and Jesus called you to have a voice with them. So I am going to challenge that because I am trying to be obedient to Jesus

You recently preached a sermon called “God wants to save Christians from hell.” I was discussing the message with a guy who after hearing this message was a bit disturbed and somehow came to the conclusion that you didn’t believe in a literal hell. Let me ask you, do you believe in a literal hell that is defined simply as eternal separation from God?

Well, there are people now who are seriously separated from God. So I would assume that God will leave room for people to say “no I don’t want any part of this”. My question would be, does grace win or is the human heart stronger than God’s love or grace. Who wins, does darkness and sin and hardness of heart win or does God’s love and grace win?

I don’t know why as a Christian you would have to make such declarative statements. Like your friend, does he want there to be a literal hell? I am a bit skeptical of somebody who argues that passionately for a literal hell, why would you be on that side? Like if you are going to pick causes, if you’re literally going to say these are the lines in the sand, I’ve got to know that people are going to burn forever, this is one of the things that you drive your stake in the ground on. I don’t understand that.

Especially when so many fail to recognize the hell that many people are experiencing today and do little about it.

Yeah, I would think it would be your duty as a Christian to hope and long and pray for somehow everybody to be reconciled to God. If you are really serious about evangelism, as I’m sure you friend would claim, and you wanted to save people from hell, then wouldn’t your hope be that everybody reconciles with God? Why would you hope for anything else? It would be your duty to long for that. I would actually ask questions about his salvation.

Ok, last question, what is at the top of your IPOD list these days?

Let’s see…Early Police – Zenyatta Mondatta, Regatta de Blanc, Outlandos d’Armor. Beastie Boys Ill Communication has been getting a lot of spins lately, and my six year old is all over the Jay-Z unplugged album. But I am obsessed with British bands so everything from Doves, who I think are the greatest ever, to Athlete, Starsailor, Ash and Charlatans. I love that stuff…

Sweet…thanks so much for your time.

No problem.

February 6, 2011

Christian Rock Band Skillet Comatose & Awake Album – Lead Singer Jordan Cooper Talks To Awaken Generation Blog About Their Mainstream Success & Not Hiding From Being Christian (VIDEO)




'Awake' debuts at No. 2 on Billboard 200 chart



In the year 2000, Christian rock band Skillet released their first live worship album ‘ARDENT WORSHIP.’ The record was a mixture of original worship songs and covers of other well-known favorites—including “Your Name Is Holy,” “Jesus, Jesus (Holy And Anointed One)” and “Shout To The Lord.”


Today, 10 years later, the Memphis-based Christian band are officially a successful mainstream Rock band with all the accolades and sales to prove it.  Their latest offering ‘AWAKE’ was released on August 25, 2009 and debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 and sold a record-breaking 200,000 copies in 12 weeks.  One year later it was certified GOLD by the RIAA for sales of more than 500,000 copies.  And with their “AWAKE & ALIVE Tour” the grammy-nominated band sold out venues Coast to Coast and rocked capacity crowds in Chicago, Tulsa, Columbus, Boston, Phoenix, Portland, Seattle, Boise, Denver, and Minneapolis.   And at times touring with iconic Rock acts like ‘Three Days Grace’ and CREED.


And yet in all of their success Skillet has never backed down or been afraid to admit that they are unashamedly a Christian band.

It’s rare when a Christian rock band can cross over to the mainstream, but Skillet has done just that: charted on rock radio yet without denying the roots that got it there in the first place.

We got a rare chance to catch up with Jordan Cooper, lead singer of Skillet about their recent success and how that affected their stance as Christians.


Is it true music was forbidden in your house growing up?

Cooper: Not all music, but anything with drums. Drums and guitar were the devil’s instruments. My mom was a piano teacher and voice teacher, so she loved music, just a certain kind. Classical, hymns and opera were okay. When I first heard Christian music, I felt vindicated, like, “It’s not the drums that’s evil.”

You’re one of the few Christian rock bands that didn’t abandon the genre after getting mainstream success.

Cooper: Thanks. I think I’m so adamant about not wanting to get rid of my Christian stance because it helped me so much in my early life. I’m not embarrassed about it, and I’m not silent about it in interviews. If people ask, “Are you a Christian band?” my response is, “Yeah. I love it.”


Your 2009 album, “Awake,” debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart. Why do you think so many fans relate to this album?

Cooper: I think it’s because Skillet has a lot more fans than just Christian music fans. We are a Christian band, but we work very hard at writing songs about issues that, in my mind, everyone can relate to: atheists, agnostics, Jews, Muslims. I see that in bands like U2 and Switchfoot. Those bands have done a good job of having positive and hopeful messages, without alienating certain people.

What’s it like being in a band with your wife Korey (keyboard, guitar)?

Cooper: It’s awesome. She’s my go-to person to lean on when it comes to making the set flow and making songs sound better. She’ll do keyboard programming and songs will come to life. Personally, it’s nice on the road, because it makes the whole band feel more stable. We have our kids on the road, and it feels like a big family traveling and loving each other and having fun.

Your song, “Monster,” was No. 4 on the active rock chart last year and featured on WWE wrestling. How cool was that?

Cooper: It was awesome. “Monster” is a song a lot of stations said they would never play because it came from a Christian band. But the song kept doing better and better, and eventually, most of those people ended up playing the record.


I loved them during the ARDENT days and I love them today.

Thanks Jordan and Skillet for taking the light of Christ in places few Christians will ever get the opportunity to go.



February 6, 2011

Erwin McManus Pastor Mosaic L.A. Author Unstoppable Force Chasing Daylight The Barbarian Way Wide Awake Shares Why The Church Needs To Become Less Self-Centered And More Generous

Popular speaker and author Erwin Mcmanus shared some powerful insights recently about why the Church needs to become less self-centered.

When asked why he thought so many Churches in America struggle with declining numbers, McManus answered:


“My primary assessment would be because American Christians tend to be incredibly self-indulgent so they see the church as a place there for them to meet their needs and to express faith in a way that is meaningful for them,” said cultural architect Erwin McManus, lead pastor at Mosaic Church in Los Angeles, to The Christian Post Monday.

“There is almost no genuine compassion or urgency about serving and reaching people who don’t know Christ,” he added.


Wow. Ouch.  Amen.  All together.


You can read the whole article here.



February 6, 2011



Great news out of Nashville Christian recording artist Rebecca St. James in engaged her record label reported a few days ago! Congrats to Rebecca and her new beau!

According to her record label:

Singer-songwriter Rebecca St. James, announced Jan. 3 that she is engaged to be married.

“St. James will wed the man she’s been waiting for — Jacob Fink — on a date soon to be announced,” a news release from her publicist said. “The Christmas Day proposal came at Rebecca’s family farm in Franklin, Tenn., where she was presented the brilliant, solitaire diamond ring. The groom-to-be asked her parents, David and Helen, for their blessing prior to him surprising Rebecca with the engagement ring and his request for her hand in marriage.”

Fink is originally from Colorado and now resides in southern California. After spending two years as a missionary in South Africa, he earned a degree in communications with an emphasis on film production, and the couple met through mutual friends in Los Angeles, the news release said.

“We are truly amazed at finding our dreams and ideals met in the love we’ve found,” St. James said. “We are exceedingly grateful for this precious gift from God.”

For years St. James, 33, has promoted a lifestyle of sexual purity until marriage, lending her talent to the True Love Waits movement.

St. James’ new studio album “I Will Praise You” is set for release April 5, with its first single, “Shine Your Glory Down,” hitting radio Feb. 11. Her ninth book — “What Is He Thinking?” — is due out in September.

A decade ago, St. James released her landmark single “Wait for Me,” which helped spur the purity movement by challenging young people worldwide to wait honorably for the spouse God may have for them.

“Wait for Me has been one of those pillar songs for True Love Waits. Both the words of the song and the purity of the artist behind it have carried great weight with Christian teenagers,” Ross said. “We know from the Reformation and the Great Awakenings that music fuels movements. Rebecca’s Wait for Me would be an example of that phenomenon in our day.”

February 6, 2011

Cameron Strang Founder Relevant Magazine Gives Rare Inside Look To How He Started And What It Takes To Run A Magazine In Great Interview (VIDEO)


Cameron Strang, founder of Relevant Magazine did a rare and honest interview with Brad Lomenick recently on what how he started Relevant Magazine and what it takes to run a magazine company.

I thought Strang’s answers were surprisingly honest.  He wasn’t trying to glamorize Relevant or his company in any way, but rather gave sound advice to any person wanting to start their own venture.

Camerong also candidly shares about the role his parents played in helping him grow up and prove his commitment to what he feels God has called him to.

Here’s why I think Cameron’s words are worth heeding:  His words apply to anything you may want to do in life for God.  Anything.  And the truth is that at the end of the day our calling, our desire to do great things for the glory of God come down to real life, practical hard work.  Behind all the glamor of a TOMS Shoes or Relevant Magazine or Passion/sixstepsrecords in unglamorous hard work.

So I’d recommend you listening to Strang’s interview with the question:  God what do you want me to learn through this?





February 6, 2011

Brad Lomenick Catalyst Conference Atlanta Young Influencers List, January 2011 Edition



Every month Brad Lomenick director of Catalyst Conference does an interesting feature on his blog every month called “Young Influencer List” and for January 2011 he had a new list that I thought was worth taking a look at.


Here’s His List Unedited:

Every month I try to highlight some young leaders who are making a difference. So here we go- kicking off 2011!  The list not in any particular order.

1. Dharius Daniels– senior pastor and founder of Kingdom Church in New Jersey.

2. Jenna Lucado Bishop– speaker, author of Redefining Beautiful, and daughter of Max Lucado

3. Blake Canterbury– founder of BeRemedy, an organization that creates simple ways for you to help other people.

4. Isaac Hunter– senior pastor, Summit Church in Orlando

5. Karla Keatingeheads up the i-heart campaign for Hillsong United.

6. Tifah Smith– lead vocalist of a new favorite band- The Autumn Film. Check them out.


February 6, 2011

Pastor James MacDonald Harvest Bible Chapel Chicago, IL Presents New Event The Elephant In The Room Featuring Steven Furtick David Platt Mark Driscoll Matt Chandler Greg Lauri Perry Noble


Pastor James MacDonald


James MacDonald is introducing a brand new event called The Elephant In The Room on March 31, 2011.  It’s a one day event with 7 influential pastors.


It’s a day of conversations between seven pastors who share a common love for the Gospel, but take radically different approaches to ministry. So… it will be a Matt Chandler sitting down with a Steven Furtick to talk about approaches to preaching. Other issues include evangelism strategies, pastor pitfalls, reproducing the church, money, and so on.

It’s live in Chicago for a very intimate audience… and then broadcast to simulcast sites all over North America. The map is growing weekly…

The goal is to not polarize each other, but to allow iron to sharpen iron… to talk about the “elephants in the room” in our deeply divided ministry culture. This is not a debate, but frank conversations between pastors who aren’t afraid to mix it up.


February 6, 2011




Craig Groeschel best-selling author and pastor of had some profound for pastors and preachers on his blog recently.

In a post entitled, ‘Authentic And Transparent Communication’ Groeschel implored speakers to make themselves more transparent and vulnerable in their messages and sermons.

“Most of the communicators I see struggle to bringall of themselves to a message,” Groeschel lamented.


It was really interesting reading this because I just thought about this last week.  In fact this is the one thing I think that sets Francis Chan apart as a speaker from everyone else.  He is transparent and authentic to a fault.  So in my mind Groeschel’s words were very wise.

“Bring You” Groeschel pleads with leaders.


Here’s More From The Post:


When you preach or teach, you must bring you. Without you in, around, and through the message, you will not impact today’s listener.

The younger audience today has a built in authenticity-meter. You can preach with passion, humor, clever points, or heart-wrenching stories. But if the scriptures haven’t touched your life, the listener will know it—and ignore your well-crafted message.

People want to know:

  • How has the text affected you?
  • How have you failed in the area the Scripture addresses?
  • What about the text makes you uncomfortable?
  • What do you feel about what Scripture is saying? (I know our feelings don’t trump scriptural truth, but talking about how we feel about the text can help engage others at a deeper level.)
  • How are you becoming different because of your study in God’s word?

Which preachers do you listen to that do a good job of brining themselves into the message? How are you learning to “bring you” as a communicator?


Do you think Groeschel’s right or wrong?  Would love to hear your thoughts

February 6, 2011

North Point Community Church Atlanta, GA Through The Eyes Of A Visitor – Pomomuzings Blog


North Point Community Church



Interesting thoughts by Adam Walker Cleaveland after he visited North Point Community Church in Atlanta for the first time.  I may not agree with everything but I thought he was right on the money with all the seat-saving.  It’s my biggest pet peeve about North Point.


Adam In His Own Words:

While in Atlanta last weekend, Mark, Sarah and I went to North Point Community Church, where Andy Stanley is the pastor. It was definitely my first megachurch experience. Sarah actually didn’t think the sermon was all that bad, and…it wasn’t. But, I just know I couldn’t attend a church like that. It was pretty hard to find a good seat because everyone just had rows and rows of seats saved (any theological thoughts on seat-saving in worship?). It’s hard to have any type of community there, unless you’re actively involved in one of the community/small groups. I didn’t really like going to church and having it feel like I was going to a concert or huge convention (complete with the parking lot attendants, orange vests and everything). We were in the auditorium that Andy was preaching in, but…there were a few more thousand people in the opposite auditorium where Andy’s sermon was fed into. Again, just not the type of interaction I want with my pastor (or, if I was the pastor, with the body in the church).

I’m not going to get into some “Megachurches suck and they’re a complete waste of time and space!” type of rant. I just know that for myself…yah, definitely not a megachurch kind of guy. There is no way that I could handle pastoring a church that big, and I most definitely would not want to be a member of a church that large…

Definitely an interesting experience though. Anyone else been there? Anyone else have any megachurch experiences that were bad…good…neutral?


February 6, 2011



A few days ago Tony Morgan did a live interview with Perry Noble, Mega-Church pastor/stand-up comedian/slash tell-it-like-it-is-guy.  You can check it out here.

Perry’s become very popular among next-gen pastors, especially for the way he has grown New Spring Church in Anderson, South Carolina, from a few people in a living room to more than 10,000 people in under 10 years, with numerous locations throughout SC today.  He’s also gotten quite a reputation for saying things that make people squirm in their seats, at first – then laugh, first uncomfortably -then uproariously. Like Mark Batterson says, “you can always count on Perry to tell it like it is.”  Perry’s got the kind of authenticity that makes others feel uncomfortable at first, then gives everyone around him permission to be real very quickly.  He is fast emerging as a leader many other leaders are looking up to.

It was interesting to go inside Perry’s mind during the interview, and hear how he views his role and responsibilities at his fasting-growing mega-Church.  He simply described his leadership responsibilities as follows:

1.  He spends the majority of his time on sermon preparation.

2.  He does what he calls ‘point leadership’ which he gets from Andy Stanley.  Which I think refers to appointing other people in key positions, or to delegate various tasks.

3.  He is only involved in big picture decisions at the Church.

4.  His primary responsibilities is to develop himself as a leader: his personal growth through conferences, books, resources, relationships etc.

5.  His major HR concern is to maintain his relationships with his key staff members.

6.  He’s not involved with the day-to-day operations of the church.

Some things this tell me:

1.  He understands that he is part of the New Spring team, not separate from it, and his key role is that of communicator.  As a result he spends the majority of his time on sermon preparation.

2.  His focus:  he knows he cannot do everything at the Church and he feels no personal obligation to do everything.  This allows him to focus as a leader on his key responsibilities and gifting.

3.  His commitment to personal development.  This ties in exactly with a post I did a few ago about The Relationship Between Knowledge and Exceptional Leadership. This commitment to personal development is true of every great leader.

4.  His most primary leadership responsibility is to his executive leadership team, or the team that reports directly to him.

5.  He guards against ministry overload.  He’s not doing a 100 m dash, he’s doing this for the long haul, and as such he guards against overloading his schedule, and he’s not involved with the day-to-day operations of the Church (here’s where ‘point leadership’ comes in).

My Observations (And Potential Leadership Blind-Spots):

One of the things I tend to notice with many leaders is, that while they have a high commitment to personal development, many leaders tend to leave organizational or staff development – to individual staff. In other words, staff are expected to be responsible for their own development instead of looking to the organization they work for to facilitate their personal growth.  Staff members are basically hired for their ability and skill they already have, and then additional development is not considered the responsibility of the organization or the leadership team.  Yet in the top performing companies and organizations like GE, personnel development is a high priority.  This is true of many exceptional companies and organizations, including North Point Community Church: development of the leader and staff go hand in hand.  That way staff grows as the leader grows and ultimately – the organization excels.

February 6, 2011

Ed Young Pastor Fellowship Church Dallas/Ft Worth Creative Church Conference Creative Pastors Shares How Prepares His Sermon Series Messages (VIDEO)


I  came across this really cool video a few days ago.  It’s from Ed Young’s video blog, and in it he shares how he prepares his sermons every week.  Ed is the Senior Pastor of the 18,000-member Fellowship Church, based in Grapevine, TX. He’s especially known for his provocative sermon series titles like “Forgiveness: The Real F-Word” and “Get Your Fear In Gear,” and his out of the box, creative stage design – some of the props he’s used in the past include a king size bed for his series on marriage, and and a Corvette for one of his series’ called “RPM’s”.  All these ingredients makes his messages fresh and entertaining while being fully grounded biblically.

So, how does he prepare his sermons?

He says that he reserves Saturday mornings for study.  Basically, he spends Saturday mornings in study and preparation for about 2 – 4 hours.

Some of the commentaries and tools he uses include:

1. “The Complete Idiot’s Guide To The Bible” – he says that so often when you’ve been preaching for so long it becomes hard to know what to say and what not to say in your sermons, for him he says he tends to say too much, when he could’ve said it in a more conscise way. So “The Complete Idiot’s Guide” helps him to keep his messages lean and to the point.

2. He uses the “Life Application Study Bible” (NIV) a lot – it has some cool notes in it and some great bible character sketches.

3.  He uses the Dallas Theological Commentary called “The Bible Knowledge Commentary” bu John F. Walvoord  – he’s been using this for a long time

4. He also makes a lot of notes and highlights Bible passages all throughout his Bible as he reads and studies, that tends to stimulate ideas for new and future sermons.

5.  He keeps a ‘preaching journal’ with different ideas and illustrations that he fills regularly with all sorts of thoughts and musings that come to mind, as an ideabank to refer to later.

6. He also uses the “Liberty Bible Commentary” by Liberty University, that he’s had for a while.

He’s Saturday schedule basically consist of studying for a few hours at home in the mornings, then he’ll go to the gym and work-out, then he’ll go to the Church, study some more at the Church for a couple of hours, then get ready to preach at their Saturday evening services at Fellowship Church. Sometimes he also paints after a time of Saturday morning study.


February 6, 2011

Donald Miller Best-Selling Author Blue Like Jazz & A Million Miles In A Thousand Years Talks About His Writing Habits In Great Interview

Donald Miller


Saw a cool interview on Donald Miller’s blog the other day.  Miller is the author of the cult favorite “Blue Like Jazz” that has sold more than 1 million copies to date.  His new book, slated for a Fall 09 release, is called“A Million Miles In A Thousand Years.” From what I can tell it sounds like the inspiration for this new release came from the experience of trying to adapt “Blue Like Jazz” into a screenplay a few years ago. Seems like that was a life-changing experience for Miller, as he came to see just how boring and unexciting his life has been so far – and this birthed a longing in his heart to be more and do more with the rest of his life.  So his new book chronicles his journey of trying to live a better story.  It’s an experience all of us identify with – the desire to be all we can be for God.  This new resolve caused him to make quite a few changes in his life, as well as attempt new things, for example, he increased his efforts with his mentoring organization for kids without fathers, as well as a bunch of other things he did in response to wanting to live differently.


But the part of the interview that I found really interesting was when the interviewer asked him about his writing habits.  I’ve always been curious about how much time he spends writing, and for how long etc.


I thought it was interesting, that he only writes for a few weeks at a time.  Fairly seasonal, in a way. Interesting – every writer has their own habits and writing schedule, so it was interesting to hear Miller describe his.


Here’s The Excerpt:


Tell me about your writing process. Are you disciplined?

Extremely. At 4 a.m. every morning I jog. [laughs]. No, it’s seasonal. I block out weeks at a time, so I’m in a writing mode now. And that’s the only thing that really works for me. If it gets really hectic around the house, a friend has a cabin on Orcas Island and I’ll go up. And it’s a beautiful place, but I hate being there because it’s just so lonely and I like people around. But it’s unfortunately productive. And so a lot of times I have to go up there.

And the other thing is I just have to turn off the phone. I get up, I usually take the dogs for a walk, come in and for the next several hours will kind of wrestle with the book, which means I do a lot of reading. And at some point I force myself to sit down—because I never want to—and within about five minutes I’m lost in the book. I’m really enjoying it. Which is just weird: to enjoy something so much and not actually want to do it. I think it’s because every fourth or fifth writing session is so bad. I can’t get the words to go where I want them to go. It creates a fear that that’s going to happen again.


Miller also posted an excerpt from his new book on his blog – you can check it out here.


February 6, 2011

Hilarious Picture Of The Day

epic fail photos - Handicap Accesible FAIL




epic fail photos - THEME PARK WARNING