Archive for August, 2011

August 30, 2011

THE SHACK Lawsuit Settled Out Of Court

Author William P. Young’s contract dispute regarding his runaway best-seller, The Shack, has been settled out of court.

Court documents show that a jury trial was scheduled for late September in Ventura, Calif., but on Aug. 12 the case was dismissed without prejudice.

Young filed suit in November 2009 against Brad Cummings and Wayne Jacobsen. Windblown Media countersued for $5 million in federal court and made a claim over the authorship of the book. Cummings and Jacobsen collaborated with Young in writing what became a No. 1 New York Times best-selling novel and founded Windblown Media to publish it after it was rejected by multiple publishers. Cummings did not respond to queries for comment by press time.

Hachette Book Group, which in 2008 began to distribute The Shack, also filed suit against Young and Windblown Media to determine where royalties should be paid and to protect itself from future lawsuits. In the wake of the dismissal, Hachette’s statement to Christian Retailing on the case was: “We’re very pleased that the parties have resolved their differences and we can move forward.”

Nichole Daiger, communications/public relations specialist for Los Angeles law firm Loeb & Loeb—which employs Young’s attorney, Michael Anderson—confirmed that the case was settled, but said that “the terms are confidential, so unfortunately we are not able to provide any comment or details.”

Attorneys for Windblown Media had a similar comment. “All disputes by the parties have been resolved by mutual agreement,” said Allison Hart of Los Angeles firm Lavely & Singer.

The suits filed concerned more than $8 million in royalties. Young’s contract had promised him 50 cents per paperback sale and $1 per hardcover sale, and a third of net profits.

“After we did an accounting, we recognized that he wasn’t getting paid anywhere near what he should,” Anderson told Christian Retailing in 2010.

Jacobsen said earlier that God was not “for us or against our brother Paul [Young]. He is for a resolution steeped in the very things we wrote about together—love, grace, truth, forgiveness and laying down our lives for each other. I’m sure Jesus yearns for a full reconciliation, but lacking that, would at least appreciate it if we could find a gracious resolution and a peaceful parting.”

August 28, 2011




My First Great Awakening

When I was a junior in high school, my church youth group voted me to be their president. Apparently the qualifications for office had nothing to do with living like a Christian, and before I knew it, my one-year term “earned” me a partial scholarship to a Christian university. With athletics covering the rest of my room and board, I embarked on what I hoped would become a new, God-pleasing beginning.

I set off with a carload of clothes, Bic pens, my Cindy Crawford poster, and lofty dreams. Instead of being surrounded by young Billy Grahams and Mother Teresas, however, I was bombarded by miniature Lindsay Lohans and Kanye Wests and quickly pulled into the party scene.

Sin is fun — at least for a while. But it never fails to come back to haunt you, usually when you least expect it. Like a sneeze, sin feels good at first, but it leaves a huge mess. By my sophomore year, several of my fraternity brothers got busted for grand larceny, putting our whole fraternity at risk of being kicked off campus. Around the same time, because of a major hangover, I slept through tennis practice, which placed me exactly one mistake away from losing my athletic scholarship. And many people on campus despised me because of how I had treated a few girls.

Feeling lower and lower by the second, I decided to look up toward God — again.

I decided to start a Bible study in our fraternity house. I sold this unusual idea to my frat brothers by explaining that it would be great PR to help our sullied reputation. Truthfully, I wanted to learn about God. Since church hadn’t really helped me in that department, I thought I might as well go straight to the Bible to see what I could discover for myself.

On the Tuesday morning before our first Bible study, I was strolling across campus between classes when it dawned on me that I didn’t have a Bible. (I left the family’s gold Bible at home.) On my way to my world literature class, an older gentleman introduced himself to me, saying he was a Gideon. He asked me if I wanted a free Bible. I wasn’t sure what a Gideon was, but as
far as I was concerned, he might as well have been one of God’s angels.

That night, a handful of us started reading the Bible in a small, sweat-soaked, party-stained room in the Lamba Chi Alpha house. We started reading in Matthew, chapter one, and once we moved past who begat whom, the pace picked up. At the end of our rookie Bible studies, we prayed the only prayers we knew: “God, protect us as we party. God, keep Joe’s girlfriend from getting pregnant. God, don’t let us get caught cheating on the American history test.” They weren’t the typical prayers prayed at Baptist student unions, but they were honest.

We were a bunch of guys who believed in God but didn’t have a clue who God really is.

Although we didn’t know what we were doing, our little Bible study started to grow. Apparently many of our party friends bore a similar spiritual curiosity. The more Bible we read and the more prayers we prayed, the more people showed up and the more God seemed to do.

After finishing Matthew, we discovered that Mark, Luke, and John had several of the same stories. Three chapters into Acts, we got bored and skipped to Romans. Midway through Romans, I got so excited that I started reading ahead. When I reached Ephesians, I encountered two verses that would forever change my life: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith — and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God — not by works, so that no one can boast.” Could this be true? We’re saved by God’s grace and his grace alone? It’s not by our works? Why didn’t anyone tell me?

I felt like a caged animal and had to escape that tiny room. Someone was sitting in front of the only door, so I slipped out the closest window and dropped to the ground. Sensing something important, I dashed to a nearby softball field, needing to be alone with God. What happened next is hard to explain and even harder for me to believe. The presence of God became real to me.

I always thought that only wackos actually hear from God. Sure, you heard God. And there’s a teeny angel on your shoulder right now telling you what to do next, right?

Well, that evening I became a wacko. Kneeling on the grass, I heard a voice. It wasn’t audible — it was actually way too loud to be audible, too present inside me. “Without me, you have nothing. With me, you have everything.” I knelt and prayed the shortest, most power-packed, faith-filled prayer of my life.

Not so much whispering as mouthing the words, I said to God, “Take my life.”

That was it. I had knelt down in the field as one person, and I stood up as a completely different person. I had the same body, the same voice, and the same mind, but I wasn’t the same. I’d later learn that I’d become what the Bible calls a “new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17). The old was gone; the new had come. I had finally transformed from a Christian Atheist into a Christian.

For the first time in my life, I believed in God and began to live like he is real.

Mission Not Accomplished
Since I was a new person, I became aware of a new mission: to spread the gospel into all the earth — starting with my roommate. No one was immune from my infectious faith. Not my fellow athletes, not my fraternity brothers, not my party friends, not my professors. To say I became a fanatic would be an understatement. I started collecting converts to Christianity like Michael Phelps collects gold medals. The more that God did, the more I began to understand that God was calling me to give him my whole life in full-time, vocational ministry.

As if on cue, when I was twenty-three, God opened a door for me to work at a historic downtown church. My dreamcome-true slowly turned into a spiritual nightmare. What started out as a good thing quickly became an obsession. My service was never enough. And as my love for ministry burned hotter, my passion for Christ cooled.

My mission had become a job. Instead of studying God’s Word out of personal devotion, I studied only to preach. Instead of preaching messages to bring glory to God, I preached to bring people to church. I promised hurting people I would pray for them, but I usually didn’t follow through.

At the age of twenty-five, I was a full-time pastor and a part-time follower of Christ.

An Invitation
Does any of this resonate with your experience? Was there a time in your life that you were closer to God than you are today? If you’re like me, your spiritual drift didn’t happen on purpose. Like a tiny leak in a tire, slowly but surely, your spiritual passion quietly slipped away. Maybe it has just become clear to you. Instead of a fully devoted follower of Christ, you’ve unintentionally become a full-time mom or full-time student or a full-time bank clerk — and a part-time follower of Christ.

Maybe like so many, you’re a member of a church, but you’re secretly still ashamed of your past. Perhaps you’ve heard about the love of God, but you’re still not convinced that God totally loves you. Or though you’re convinced God exists, your prayer life isn’t what you know it should be. Perhaps like many other well-meaning Christians, you know what God wants you to do, but you still do whatever you want. Or you genuinely want to trust God as your provider, but you find it so hard to actually do. Possibly you believe in heaven and hell, but sharing your faith with others is still foreign or simply way too intimidating for you. Or you may believe in God but don’t see much need for the church.

I’ll be honest with you about my struggles, and I hope you’ll be honest as well. And together, with God’s help, perhaps we can learn to know and walk with God more intimately.

Craig Groeschel is the founder and senior pastor of, an evangelical Christian multi-site church with multiple locations in Arizona, Oklahoma, and Texas that feature live satellite video services. His new book, The Christian Atheist, was released March 23rd, 2011.

August 27, 2011

Switchfoot Debuts ‘Dark Horses’ Single From New Album VICE VERSES


SWITCHFOOT will perform on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” on Monday, September 19th. The GRAMMY®-winning band will give “Dark Horses,” the lead single from its upcoming album, Vice Verses, its television debut. The track is climbing at Modern Rock radio, where it has already been added by KTBZ (Houston), San Diego’s 91X and KBZT, CIMX (Detroit), KPNT (St. Louis), WXDX (Pittsburgh), KXRK (Salt Lake City) and numerous other stations.

Credential Recordings/lowercase people and Atlantic Records will release Vice Verses, the eighth studio record from the multi-platinum rock band, on September 27th. Working with producer Neal Avron (Sara Bareilles, Weezer), SWITCHFOOT recorded most of the album in their San Diego, CA home studio. Mike Elizondo (Eminem, Dr. Dre, Pink) who produced 2009’s Hello Hurricane, served as executive producer. Hello Hurricane entered The Billboard 200 at No. 13 and contained the Modern Rock hits “The Sound (John M. Perkins’ Blues)” and “Mess of Me.” The band won “Artist of the Year” honors at the San Diego Music Awards earlier this week.

On September 22nd, SWITCHFOOT will launch a co-headlining tour with ANBERLIN in Wilmington, NC. A pre-sale for fan club members is underway now at Tickets will go on sale to the general public this Friday, August 12th, at  (See below for itinerary.)

SWITCHFOOT and ANBERLIN have also teamed up with Eventful to give their fans in the cities where the tour is routed the opportunity to bring an exclusive VIP acoustic performance to their city.  Fans have until September 15 to cast a vote for their city at The tour city with the most Demands will host the VIP performance prior to the regularly scheduled show. Eventful’s “Demand it!”™ service is used by over 100,000 performers who engage with millions of their fans to find out where they are in demand, and then utilize this essential data to optimize future tour routing.

Local chapters of StandUp for Kids (, a national nonprofit volunteer outreach organization dedicated to making a difference in the lives of at-risk, homeless and street kids, will be collecting new and used backpacks at the concerts. The backpacks will be used to distribute food and essentials to kids served by the organization.

SWITCHFOOT has raised more than $500,000 for San Diego-based children’s charities, including StandUp for Kids, with its annual concert/surf contest/silent auction, the Switchfoot Bro-Am Presented By Hurley ( The seventh annual Bro-Am took place in June at Moonlight Beach in Encinitas, CA.

ESPN college football will host an exclusive stream of Vice Verses on September 17th and the album will provide the soundtrack to the NCAA games airing that day on ESPN. SWITCHFOOT will perform at the San Diego Padres-Arizona Diamondbacks baseball game on September 18th at PETCO Park in San Diego.

SWITCHFOOT – comprising Jon Foreman (vocals/guitar), Tim Foreman (bass), Chad Butler (drums), Jerome Fontamillas (keys/guitar) and Drew Shirley (guitar) – expands its sonic palette on Vice Verses. Songs like “Afterlife” and “The War Inside” take the harder-edged approach of Hello Hurricane a step further, creating what Billboard has called “powerful, anthemic rockers.” Tracks such as the groove-oriented “The Original” and “Blinding Light” benefit from a hip-hop backbeat as does “Selling the News,” a Beck-like song that finds Foreman performing spoken word.  “The War Inside” really puts the rhythm section up front while the snappy “Rise Above It” recalls the Chili Peppers punk-funk.  “‘Restless’ is the story of my life: thirsty, reaching, yearning for more,” confesses Foreman as his unflinchingly honest lyrics drive the current single rapidly climbing the AC/CHR Christian radio charts.

With its play on words, the new album’s title suggests its theme: everything has two sides. “Every blessing comes with a set of curses,” singer-guitarist Jon Foreman sings on the title track, all the while wondering if “there’s a meaning to it all.”

“The whole thing is about polarity,” says Foreman. “We wanted to write about the polarity of what it means to be human, the lights and darks. I’m always intrigued by the tension that exists between life and death. When making Hello Hurricane, there was a graveyard right by the hotel we were staying at while we were mixing it, and I spent a little bit of time there each morning walking through and sorting it out…really Vice Verses started there. This record is as much about loss as it is about what we still have while we’re living.”

The pre-order for Vice Verses is currently underway at


9/22      Wilmington, NC             UNC-Wilmington
9/25      New York, NY             Best Buy
9/26      Philadelphia, PA            Trocadero
9/27      Oneonta, NY                SUNY College
9/29      Grand Rapids, MI          Hoogenboom Center – Calvin College
9/30      Columbus, OH              Newport Music Hall
10/1      Bourbonnais, IL Olivet Nazarene University-Centennial
10/2      Dekalb, IL                    Northern Illinois University
10/5      Bowling Green, OH       Bowling Green State University – Stroh Center
10/7      Boulder, CO                  Boulder Theatre
10/8      Salt Lake City, UT        Gallivan Center – X96 concert
10/10    San Francisco, CA        The Warfield Theatre
10/11    Los Angeles, CA           The Wiltern
10/13    Amarillo, TX                 Azteca Music Hall
10/14    Siloam Springs, AR        John Brown University – Bill George Arena
10/15    Longview, TX               Le Tourneau University – Belcher Center
10/17    Dallas, TX                    House of Blues
10/18    Austin, TX                    Stubbs Waller Creek
10/20    Albuquerque, NM          Kiva Auditorium
10/21    Phoenix, AZ                  Grand Canyon University Arena  (SWITCHFOOT ONLY)

August 27, 2011




Why did you want to spend two years in Atlanta to help start a church?

We’ve loved being around the Passion movement for the last decade, and have shared much life with those guys—leading and traveling together, dreaming up songs together, so many good stories along the way. When we heard Louie and Shelley [Giglio] and Chris were planting a church, there was no way we weren’t going to hop across the ocean and join in the fun! It was a great adventure for those first couple of years, but we felt the pull back to our homeland and life and ministry here. We ended up moving to Brighton, the most unchurched city in England—a very different kind of challenge!

What attracts you to church plants, and what was your role in Atlanta?

We’ve been around for the planting of a few new church communities, and it’s always such a faith-filled adventure. They’ve involved different sizes, styles, expressions, and cultures, but with all of them it’s been amazing to see Jesus building his church, and to realize that the gospel of Christ really works. If you put his hope, love, and glory on display in a relevant way, you’ll see it change, save, and transform lives. Who wouldn’t want to be part of something like that?

You had two kids born in the U.S., and both needed critical care. Tell me about that.

Jackson and Levi both had some breathing difficulties when they were born, and ended up in the ICU for a little while. Those moments are never easy to navigate; you’re expecting sheer joy in that season and then you get some struggle thrown in with it. But isn’t that so much of what life is like on this journey of faith? So often it’s battle and blessing all mixed up into one. But the longer you walk with Jesus, the more you realize just how utterly faithful he is, and I hope that conviction comes through in some of the songs we’ve been writing. It’s no coincidence that some of the most fruitful songs we’ve written have flowed from some of the hardest moments of our lives—like “Blessed Be Your Name,” “You Never Let Go,” and now “Never Once,” they all came from seasons of intense struggle and confusion.

How would you describe Passion City Church?

Louie is the last person to claim that PCC was some brand new innovative expression of church. But having said that, I think that Louie, Shelley, Chris, and the team are all creative people with a big worldview, so that’s going to add some spice. I think perhaps the unique thing about PCC is that it was a local community being planted from an already existing global movement. Usually it’s the other way around.

What have you learned from two years immersed in American culture?

I love the optimism in so much of the USA church. Sometimes we Europeans can be a bit more cynical or embarrassed to dream and live big. I think American optimism mixed in with a kingdom of God mindset is a wonderful, explosive mix. It reminds me of Psalm 18, where the writer is convinced that he can rise to the occasion: “With my God I can do this thing … I can do that thing.” I see that a lot in the USA church, and I’ve found it really inspiring.

What has been your focus since returning to the UK?

We’re now at St. Peter’s in Brighton—a recent church plant by Holy Trinity Brampton, a London church. One of the major landmarks in Brighton is St. Peter’s, this huge cathedral-like building in the center. Until a year or so ago it was increasingly rundown and empty. But now with this new church community, it’s starting to fill up again and be that “city on a hill” it was always meant to be. We are so excited to be jumping into the adventure as we’ve for a long time had a heart for that city—the most unchurched city in England. We’d love to play a tiny little part in its transformation.

Why is your new album called 10,000 Reasons?

It comes from a lyric in the title song: “For all Your goodness I will keep on singing: 10,000 reasons for my heart to find.” We’re never short of a reason to worship Jesus; his goodness and glory are flying at us steadily and speedily from every imaginable angle. So if we wake up one day and can’t think of a reason to exalt him, there’s something wrong with our spiritual outlook. I hope the album itself is flowing with reason after reason for the worship of God. There’s not really one over-arching theme; there are songs of the cross, songs of the holiness of God, songs of his faithfulness, songs about eternity, songs of how he gives us a bright future.

Why did you decide to do a live album, instead of a studio album?

There’s something about the singing worshipping church which is just so distinctive—it’s the people of God, in the presence of God, pouring out the praises of God. Honestly, there’s nothing quite like that dynamic on the face of the earth, outside of the worshipping church.

Pick a song or two and tell the story behind it.

“Never Once” is about the constancy and faithfulness of God. I began to write it in Atlanta on my first visit back since our family returned to the UK. Our house in Atlanta hadn’t sold, and the song started out in the empty, echoey kitchen—just me, my guitar, a few chords, and some very solid truth about our God. Transition is always tough, and I was thinking through the journey of the last few years—all the joys and struggles. I had a very real sense of God’s immense kindness and faithfulness over every page of my life. Jason Ingram and Tim Wanstall, two great friends and songwriters, jumped in to work with me to finish the song.

“Holy” is an attempt to paint a big picture of God, focusing on how worthy he is. My friend Jonas Myrin initiated this song. He’s a Swedish guy with a great melodic sensibility and a pretty amazing grasp on the poetry of the English language, considering it’s his second language! But most of all he has a big heart for worshipping God. On the day we wrote, this we were in a little English chapel near my house, composing all day. Jason and I had both ducked out for an hour or so to call our families and check in on home. We assumed Jonas was also taking a break, but arriving back at the chapel, he was still at the piano, and singing out the foundation of something that seemed so special. We were glad to join him in helping shape and develop the song. But it’s one of those songs where the moment I heard those opening bars, I had a strong sense that were being entrusted with something special. As it turns out I think this song became the centerpiece of the whole album in many ways. There was a wonderful response when we led it at the recording.

How do you feel like you’ve grown as an artist over the years? Any regrets?

There are a few lyrics I regret, but I’m not telling you which ones! Seriously though, I don’t take lightly the craft of congregational songwriting. We’re putting words into people’s mouths, and therefore their hearts and minds. So in a good (or bad) way, we are actually at times shaping the way someone thinks about God or approaches him. That’s an awesome task. You have to become more than just a musician writing some nice tunes to make Sundays more jolly.

When you start presenting songs in your local church, you are in effect a pastor, a teacher—maybe even a prophet or evangelist. Scary! The thing I’m learning more than ever is that teamwork is essential. Every song on the new album is a co-write, and I know that all of the songs went to a different place because of that. Working together we can spur each other on to create harder, dig deeper, and therefore I hope, go further.

You have a new book coming out in August, Mirror Ball. Please describe it in a nutshell.

The book is about living a big, bold, and bright life of worship. I hope it helps people get a heightened view of the amazing God we serve, and then propels them into a new confidence of who they can become in him.

What’s the difference between songwriting and writing a book?

I love working with words. Songwriting is interesting because ultimately you’re trying to say something in the most concise way possible. The aim for me is “simple but not shallow”—so it can be easily learned, but hopefully contains some important God-truths. Writing a book, on the other hand, you get a little more space to reflect and unpack a theme. But I find that what both disciplines need is the ability and diligence to shape, mold, re-form, and edit. Often we give up too early. Creativity is always a mix of inspiration and perspiration.

August 27, 2011

Jeremy Camp Pens His Personal Story In New Book I STILL BELIEVE


Jeremy Camp’s story has inspired thousands since his debut in 2002. He has now penned this story along with co-writer Phil Newman and will release the book to retail in September 2011. Camp’s book, I Still Believe: Discovering Hope and Healing in the Midst of Life’s Deepest Valleys, is a personal reflection on his story of the passing of his first wife, Melissa, to cancer just months after marrying, and how he has grown in his relationship with God through the past ten years. This touching book portrays a full-circle account of Camp’s story that has impacted his music.

“I’ve wanted to put this story in book form for many years, but it just hasn’t been the right time until now,” states Jeremy Camp about the timing of the book. “God was and is still working in my life, but this book is a result of the last ten years of pain, healing, restoration and new beginnings.”

Within each page of I Still Believe, Camp opens his heart and soul as he shares with the reader about responding to life’s most difficult hardships. He tackles how to turn earthly sorrow straight to God when faced with the passing of a loved one.

“As clear as things are now compared to the way I felt during Melissa’s illness and after her passing, I still see only partially, imperfectly, and incompletely,” shares Camp in the book. “I have tasted and seen the goodness of the Lord in the form of one life after another life changed because of the testimony of God’s faithfulness, even in the midst of pain and sadness. There will be a day, however, when everything truly becomes crystal clear.”

Fans have heard Jeremy share his story on stage and in interviews.  Many do not know and will no doubt be touched by the complete story and details of his testimony and his heartbreaking story about his first wife, Melissa.  Readers will also learn more about Jeremy’s modest life growing up in Indiana, his struggles growing into adolescence and how the start of his music ministry began to open more doors than he ever thought possible. The book also shares of his unexpected friendship with Adrienne Liesching, which eventually brought about healing and restoration as well as a new life together.

Camp’s deep heart for ministry and his desire to see the next generation become truly alive is so vivid within the pages of I Still Believe. Here are what others are saying about I Still Believe:

“We have choices when life hits us with tragedy or despair, crisis or loss. That’s the message of Jeremy Camp’s books, and it’s the reason you will find hope and healing by journeying through the pages of his story.”
– Karen Kingsbury, Bestselling author

“Jeremy Camp is an extremely talented artist. But what many do not know is that he has suffered greatly in life.  Out of this suffering many of the songs we have come to love have been born and have brought encouragement and comfort to untold thousands around the world.  Now, for the first time, Jeremy Camp tells his whole story.  I heartily endorse it.”
– Greg Laurie, Senior Pastor, Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California

“Jeremy’s music has always had a powerful impact on me, and now I know why.  Behind his voice is a heart that’s uniquely connected with God.  Through his pain, grief, sorrow, and loss, his life has become a crucible where the Lord’s love and mercy are real revelations.  Reading Jeremy’s story has reinforced my faith in He who is able and alive!”
– Bob Coy, Senior Pastor, Calvary Chapel in Ft. Lauderdale

August 27, 2011

David Crowder*Band To Close Out 2011 With First Christmas Record, and Begin 2012 With Final Album





David Crowder*Band has announced that they will release their first ever Christmas record on Oct. 4, just months before the GRAMMY ® nominated band will debut their final album. Oh For Joy will include eight Christmas classics such as “Joy To The World,” “O Holy Night,” “Silent Night” and more, presented with the band’s distinct mark, final track listing below. The unique, nutcracker-themed cover was also revealed this week.

“Back in January we decided to start working on a record. It was to be a final masterpiece, our last statement, if you will. But we got sidetracked, and we made a Christmas album instead,” explains the band in a statement to their fans. “This is something that we are very excited about, something that we have wanted to do for years and years. Well, that Christmas album is now officially finished, and we are pleased to announce that on October 4th, Oh For Joy will release!”

Announced first to their the fans, David Crowder*Band will additionally be unveiling their final studio record on January 10, 2012. The album title is forthcoming, and the band is at work on the final project in their Texas recording studio. To read the original statement from the band, visit

Up next for the band will be headlining the highly anticipated “The 7 Tour” with acclaimed artists Gungor, who is doing an acoustic set, Chris August and John Mark McMillan. This will mark the final tour for the GRAMMY ® nominees. The shows will span from September through November and hit over 30 clubs and theaters across the U.S. including key markets such as: Dallas, Texas, Los Angeles, Calif., Portland, Ore., Seattle, Wash., Chicago, Ill., New York, N.Y., Atlanta, Ga. and Orlando, Fla. Already, several dates including Dallas have sold out with many other markets being close to capacity.

August 26, 2011

Religious Book Sales Up In 2010



Sales of religious books saw a major turnaround last year, rising 12.5% after declining 10.6% in 2009, according to the new landmark statistical survey by the Association of American Publishers and Book Industry Study Group.

Sales for the religious segment—in all print and digital formats—totaled $1.35 billion in 2010, said the joint report, released this week.

Incorporating net sales revenue and unit data from more than 1,100 U.S. publishers, BookStats is billed as the most comprehensive evaluation and analysis of the book industry, with information covering 2008-2010.

The report revealed that publishers’ net sales revenue was $27.9 billion in 2010, a 5.6% increase from 2008. Additionally, publishers’ 2.57 billion net units sold last year represented a 4.1% increase since 2008.

“The study indicates that the publishing industry is healthy and growing during a time of unprecedented change,” said Dominique Raccah, founder and CEO of Sourcebooks and chair of the BookStats committee. “Publishers have made significant investments in content and technology to better serve their audiences’ needs, and those efforts seem to correlate with the results we’re seeing.”

Click here for more information, and to purchase the complete BookStats.

August 26, 2011




Nothing is more difficult for us to get our minds around than the unconditional grace of God.

It offends our deepest sensibilities. We are actually conditioned against unconditionality–we are told in a thousand different ways that accomplishment precedes acceptance and achievement precedes approval.

Society demands two-way love. Everything’s conditional; if you achieve only then will you receive: meaning, security, respect, love, and so on. But grace, as Paul Zahl points out, is one-way love, “Grace is love that seeks you out when you have nothing to give in return. Grace is love coming at you that has nothing to do with you. Grace is being loved when you are unlovable.”

Like Job’s friends, we naturally conclude that good people get good stuff and bad people get bad stuff. The idea that bad people get good stuff is thickly counterintuitive; it seems terribly unfair and offends our sense of justice. Even those of us who have tasted the radical saving grace of God find it intuitively difficult not to put conditions on grace. The truth is that a “yes grace, but” posture is the kind of posture that perpetuates slavery in our lives and in the church.

Grace is radically unbalanced. It has no “but”; it’s unconditional, uncontrollable, unpredictable, and undomesticated. As Doug Wilson put it recently, “Grace is wild. Grace unsettles everything. Grace overflows the banks. Grace messes up your hair. Grace is not tame. In fact, unless we are making the devout nervous, we are not preaching grace as we ought.”

With this in mind, let’s look at Luke 7:36-50. This is the famous account of the sinful woman (most likely a prostitute) barging into a party of religious leaders and washing the feet of Jesus with her tears of repentance. Two rescues are happening in this passage: the obvious rescue of the immoral person but also the rescue of the moral person.


Normally, when we think of people in need of God’s rescuing grace, we think of the unrighteous and the immoral. But, what’s fascinating to me is, throughout the Bible, the immoral person gets the gospel before the moral person. It’s the prostitute who gets grace and the Pharisee who doesn’t. What we see in this story is God’s grace wrecks and then rescues, not only the promiscuous, but also the pious.

The Pharisee in this story can’t understand what Jesus is doing by allowing this woman to touch him because he assumes that God is for the clean and competent. But Jesus shows God is for the unclean and incompetent, and when measured against God’s perfect holiness, we’re all unclean and incompetent. Jesus shows the Pharisee the gospel isn’t for winners, but losers. It’s for the weak and messed-up person, not the strong and mighty person. It’s not for the well-behaved, but the dead.

Remember: Jesus came not to put into effect a moral reformation but a mortal resurrection (moral reformations can, and have, taken place throughout history without Jesus. But only Jesus can raise the dead, over and over and over again). As Gerhard Forde put it, “Christianity is not the move from vice to virtue, but rather the move from virtue to grace.”

Wrecking every religious category he had, Jesus tells the Pharisee he has a lot to learn from the prostitute, not the other way around.


The prostitute, on the other hand, walks into a party of religious people and falls at the feet of Jesus without any care as to what others are thinking and saying. She’s at the end of herself. More than wanting to avoid an uncomfortable situation, she wanted to be clean–she needed to be forgiven. She was acutely aware of her guilt and shame. She knew she needed help. She understood at a profound level that God’s grace doesn’t demand you get clean before you come to Jesus. Rather, our only hope for getting clean is to come to Jesus.

Only in the Gospel does love precede loveliness. Everywhere else loveliness precedes love.


What the Pharisee, the prostitute, and everyone in-between need to remember every day is that Christ offers forgiveness full and free from both our self-righteous goodness and our unrighteous badness. This is the hardest thing for us to believe as Christians. We think it’s a mark of spiritual maturity to hang on to our guilt and shame. We’ve sickly concluded that the worse we feel, the better we actually are. The declaration of Psalm 103:12 is the most difficult for us to grasp and embrace: “As far as the east is from the west, so far does he remove our transgressions from us.” Or, as Corrie ten Boom once said, “God takes our sins—the past, present, and future—and dumps them in the sea and puts up a sign that says ‘No Fishing Allowed.’” This seems too good to be true…it can’t be that simple, that easy, that real!


It is true! No strings attached. No but’s. No conditions. No need for balance. If you are a Christian, you are right now under the completely sufficient imputed righteousness of Christ. Your pardon is full and final. In Christ, you’re forgiven. You’re clean. It is finished.

August 26, 2011


This week’s tweet of the week comes Dr. Tony Evans who tweeted:

“God is not opposed to greatness. God is opposed to pride. Big difference. God wants you to be great!”

Preach on, preacher.

August 26, 2011

K-LOVE, AIR1 listeners give nearly $2 million for Compassion safe water systems in Africa



Amid fears of an economic crisis, listeners of national Christian radio stations, K-Love and Air1 donated nearly $2 million in a daylong campaign to provide Compassion’s Water of Life safe water systems to those living in extreme poverty in Rwanda.

K-Love and Air1 focused on the immense need for safe water in Rwanda where 60% of the population lives below the poverty line. In addition, more than one-third of the population is without improved drinking water sources and nearly half are without improved sanitation facilities.

“The money raised will provide over 35,000 Compassion children and their families with safe drinking water for the rest of their lives,” said Mark Hanlon, Compassion’s SVP, USA.

“Thanks to the tremendous generosity of the K-Love and Air1 listeners, these kids and their families will never have to worry about diseases from unsafe drinking water,” Hanlon said.

“God continues to bless K-LOVE and Air 1 with a large stage from which to spread His word. We feel that part of being a good steward is to share this stage with like-minded ministries,” said Mike Novak, president and CEO of K-Love and Air 1.

“Compassion and the ‘Water of Life’ campaign was a natural fit. The K-LOVE and Air 1 listeners blessed about 35,000 families in Rwanda with these remarkable life-giving water filters, by donating $1.9 million to Compassion in a one-day event. To that, I say, ‘Praise God,'” Novak said.

Though economic reports threatened to reduce donor generosity, over 19,000 people gave an average of $90 to provide the systems. Air1 also initiated a pledge drive where a major donor agreed to provide a Compassion Water of Life system for Haiti for each person who signed up as a recurring donor to the station. As a result, 2,600 additional water systems were made available.

The benefits of safe water have more than health implications. It is also a financial issue.

“The direct result of safe water for families means that fewer resources will be needed to treat illnesses. And when children are healthy, they can go to school,” said Hanlon. “Safe water seems like such a simple thing, but for children in living in poverty in countries like Rwanda, it has the power to bring practical change through improved health and education.”

Compassion International is the world’s largest Christian child development organization that permanently releases children from poverty. Founded in 1952, Compassion successfully tackles global poverty one child at a time, serving more than 1.2 million children in 26 of the world’s poorest countries. Recognizing that poverty is more than a lack of money, Compassion works through local churches to holistically address the individual physical, economic, educational and spiritual needs of children—enabling them to thrive, not just survive. Compassion has been awarded 10 consecutive, four-star ratings by Charity Navigator, America’s largest charity evaluator.

August 26, 2011


Martin Smith sits down to talk about the best approach to writing Christian songs that will resonate with people for many years to come.

August 26, 2011




Acoustic duo Shane & Shane is partnering with Fair Trade Services for its first studio release in two years, The One You Need. Available Oct. 4, the project’s debut single and title track is currently impacting Christian AC, CHR and Inspirational Radio.

After a brief hiatus from recording, Shane Barnard and Shane Everett have returned to the studio with two years worth of new material, all self-written and self-produced. The duo, who has been playing together for 13 years, has joined efforts with Fair Trade Services, home to top artists including The Afters, MercyMe, and Derek Webb, for its latest album.

“Shane and I are so excited about our new record label Fair Trade Services,” says Everett. “It feels amazing to have a team around us who is not only concerned about selling records but also about the Gospel moving forward through song!!! We love these guys.”

The Shanes, now both married with children, created this latest record through the lens of fatherhood and community. In fact, Barnard penned the title track—a poignant letter from daddy to daughter—a week before his daughter Lucy was born. Having also recently assumed the role of worship pastors at their local church, The One You Need additionally contains songs intended to minister to those hurting around them.

“For the first time, we’ve been in community; and when you’re in community, you see the hurt,” Everett explains. “Being on staff has been an eye opening experience for us, rubbing shoulders with broken hurting people helps us not only in our own struggles, but lets us know how to pray and how much we desperately need it.”

Preceding the record’s release is lead single, “The One You Need,” which went for adds at radio July 22. Shane & Shane wrapped a national promotional tour in support of the single earlier this month. Watch Part I and Part II of their road trip at and The duo also filmed a music video for the song, which will premiere on GodTube Aug. 4. Additional details are forthcoming. For more information on Shane & Shane and The One You Need,

Shane Everett and Shane Barnard formed the duo, Shane & Shane, after meeting at Central Baptist Church in College Station, Texas in the late 90’s. Since then, the acoustic-guitar wielding pair has become a college-circuit favorite with six label releases to its credit, and countless hours logged on the road, including tours alongside Bethany Dillon, David Crowder Band and Robbie Seay Band, among others. In total, the band’s career sales exceed half a million units. Follow Shane & Shane at

August 25, 2011


Hachette Book Group announced that it has signed an agreement for a new novel with Wm. Paul Young, author of The Shack.

“Just as he did with The Shack, Paul’s new work is a compelling story that touches deeply felt emotions and needs, and questions of the heart,” said Rolf Zettersten, SVP of Hachette’s Nashville division.

“I am very pleased to have signed with Hachette for my next book,” added Paul Young. “We have had quite the adventure this last couple of years and I look forward with anticipation to what the future holds. The folks at Hachette are creative and passionate about the process and I am grateful for the integrity and support I have found at every level of this company.”

The Shack was published in 2008 and became an international phenomenon with more than 15 million copies in print (10 million in the United States and more than 5 million in foreign translations). It spent 50 weeks at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list and has been translated into 41 languages.

August 24, 2011




I’ll be honest.

I’ve never been a Dennis Rodman fan.

I’ve always thought of him as a reckless, self absorbed, ego maniac. And while my assessment was probably fairly accurate, I think I forgot one thing. He’s a broken human being just like me.

His acceptance speech into the NBA Hall of Fame was unbelievably telling. If you have a moment you should watch (Warning: The language is a bit rough).



In his speech he did something that athletes (or anyone else) rarely do. Instead of focusing on his career he talked very candidly about his personal shortcomings and the pain he’s been through in life.

I almost started crying with him when he admits: “I have one regret; I wish I was a better father.” His own father abandoned him when he was five years old, and Dennis said that later in life: “He wrote a book about me and made a lot of money, but he never came and said hello to me.”

Just remember today before you judge that:

Arrogant boss

Self-absorbed friend

Angry parent

Everyone needs healing… Everyone.

Any thoughts?





hi there

August 23, 2011

AARON SHUST Talks About The Heart And Inspiration Behind His New Album THIS IS WHAT WE BELIEVE That Releases Today (VIDEO)

Aaron Shust opens up his heart in this personal video about his son’s illness and how its affect him and his family, and how it all inspired his new album THIS IS WHAT WE BELIEVE that releases today.  We all see some footage of Aaron at work on the new album in studio.  You can get your copy on iTunes

August 22, 2011

Dave Ramsey Goes Beyond Credit Card Shredding



More congregations than ever are hosting Ramsey’s Financial Peace University. Now he’s looking at their budgets, too.


It’s December 28, two days after the last Sunday of 2010. Dick Giesler has just reviewed the year’s financial numbers—three years after the start of the country’s worst economic disaster in nearly a century. Giesler, administrative pastor at Immanuel Baptist Church in Gurnee, Illinois, is fully aware of the challenging financial position of both the church and many of its members.

But Giesler is aware of something else. In addition to his administrative responsibilities, Giesler leads the church’s two weekly meetings of Financial Peace University, a personal finance course produced by radio and television host Dave Ramsey. More than 800 people have taken the course since the church started offering it three years ago, and at least 250 of them do not attend Immanuel. In those meetings, Giesler has heard the stories of mounting debt and seen struggles with budgeting. But despite the personal challenges, for the third year in a row, giving to the church is up more than 5 percent, placing Immanuel among the minority of congregations that have seen giving rise since the economic downturn.

“I can’t attribute it to anything specifically other than Financial Peace University,” Giesler said, “and obedience to the Lord’s principles about handling money.”

Shredding the Debt

Giesler himself is a former Financial Peace student and enthusiastic convert to Ramsey’s financial system. Ramsey preaches frugal living, generous savings, and, most of all, avoiding debt. (If you must borrow to buy a house, Ramsey instructs, make it a 15-year mortgage.) Giesler’s office displays a clear, cylindrical tower about two-and-a-half feet high. Inside are the remains of 950 credit cards representing millions of borrowed dollars that Financial Peace students have repaid through Ramsey’s program. During the 13 weeks of the class, he says, attendees typically pay off $6,000 in debt and save an extra $2,000. Often, members sign up for a second course.

Among the members are Chris and Amy Rupert, who now lead classes with Giesler. Chris, a software engineer, was introduced to Ramsey because of his initial concern about government debt—not his own. A Christian book on economics mentioned Dave Ramsey’s 2003 book The Total Money Makeover. Chris bought it and read it in a day.

“I got sick of getting to the end of the month and finding we were spending into a deficit,” Chris said. “We make good money and had nothing but a pile of debt to show for it.”

The information in Ramsey’s curriculum is not new or unique, Chris said, but it is trustworthy and gave them a plan.

“What I like about Ramsey is that it’s about behavior modification and small steps,” Chris said. “We make the same [amount of] money, but now we spend intentionally, and giving is on the list.”

The program had a marital bonus, one that nearly every couple in the class mentions. “Amy bore the bulk of stress with budgeting, because I just did not pay attention,” he said. “I was not engaged in my marriage as I should have been.”

Thanks for the Ministry

Throughout the course, a series of 12 videos plus one more on tithing, Ramsey returns to a few phrases. Children do whatever feels good, he says, but adults create a plan and follow it through. Another is, “Live like no one else today, so that later you can live like no one else.” He rails against a consumer culture that people fail to resist, trapping them with loads of stuff and debt. “It’s stooopid!” he shouts.

Ramsey has been giving out this kind of advice for 20 years, born out of stooopid behavior of his own. In his 20s, making $20,000 a month with a real estate portfolio worth several million, Ramsey says his wealth left him dissatisfied. But he didn’t have to face the burden of wealth for long: banks called his loans early, and Ramsey was forced to declare bankruptcy.

The churches he had attended looking for meaning he now turned to for financial help. A new Christian, he resolved to live differently, especially with his money. And he began telling others about his newfound, debt-free, frugal lifestyle. He self-published his Financial Peace curriculum in 1992, the same year he landed a spot on a then-bankrupt Nashville radio station.

For the first decade, Ramsey and his company, Lampo Group, lived in an uncomfortable tension between being Christian and being featured on secular radio stations. That tension followed him to the Fox Business Channel, where callers regularly thanked him for his “ministry” and asked God to bless him. (Fox ended the show in 2010, but Ramsey is still a regular guest on many of its programs.) “I had radio stations say, ‘We love the show, but does he have to talk about God all the time?'” said Bill Hampton, Lampo Group’s executive vice president.

The organization changed after the attacks on September 11, said Hampton. As the country turned to prayer following that day, Ramsey and his organization committed to integrating their faith into their financial teaching. “This is who we are,” Hampton said. “This is truth, and we’re going to be a business that operates in truth.”

Ramsey doesn’t claim that his financial principles are based on the Bible. But he talks about his personal faith, incorporates Scripture into his teaching, and speaks about the spiritual dimension of material things. “We found that people respect the consistency of the message. We don’t beat people over the head with the Bible,” Hampton said.

Still, integrating the Bible makes good business sense: While military bases, corporations, and other non-religious groups host Financial Peace classes, the majority of the 20,000 held last year were at churches. (About 251,000 families took part last year; 1.3 million have done so in the organization’s history.)

Irreverent Investor

Ramsey has his critics, most of whom are concerned with his investment advice. He is a severe critic of Biblically Responsible Investing (BRI), which strongly discourages people from investing in products that make money off of abortion, gambling, tobacco, or pornography. One financial adviser says he received e-mails from Ramsey “forcefully telling me not to tell people about BRI.”

The Financial Peace curriculum calls such investing “a slippery slope.” The financial adviser said, for instance, “If you no longer invest in funds that might invest in a company that supports abortion, you would also need to stop banking, because nearly all banks contribute to United Way, which supports Planned Parenthood …. [D]on’t choose these funds out of guilt. Don’t make poor investment decisions to choose these funds.”

“It’s a very sad reflection on the church when good ethics is deemed a slippery slope,” said Christian financial adviser Gary Moore. “Pastors should be very careful about his teachings.”

“Values-based investing is a good concept,” Ramsey stated in an e-mail interview. “However, I recommend that you invest in funds that have a five-year or longer track record of strong rates of returns, and few of these funds have that.”

Another financial adviser listed as an “Endorsed Local Provider”—someone who does business “Dave Ramsey’s way”—said Ramsey’s advice often goes overboard. “My recommendations are specific to the client,” he said. Some should probably invest outside the stock market, but such advice would get him delisted from Ramsey’s organization, which recommends only stock investments.

Most people who have gone through Ramsey’s program probably don’t recall the details of his investing advice. For them, it’s about quitting credit cards and budgeting. These simple but often dramatic behavior changes are unquestionably changing families around the country, as they did when Larry Burkett and Ron Blue were the top personal finance gurus of the conservative Christian world.

“You’re not free until you’re financially free,” said Chuck Bentley, CEO of Crown Financial Ministries. But that’s more than just free from debt and credit cards, he said. A human definition of financial freedom is financial independence. For God, “financial freedom is the freedom to serve only one master. You’re free to be Christ’s slave and no longer controlled by money, regardless if you have a lot or a little.”

Like Ramsey, Crown offers practical help, from a budgeting system to online bill paying. But Bentley said it’s most important to get someone’s heart in the right place and not simply deal with overspending. “The rich young ruler was probably debt free. But Jesus challenged his heart regarding his wealth.”

Rob Leacock, administrative pastor at Christ Church Assembly of God in Fort Worth, Texas, has used material from both Financial Peace and Crown Financial Ministries.While Financial Peace focuses on getting out of debt, Leacock said, Crown’s “focus is what the Bible says …. In a perfect world, we would do Crown first and get the biblical basis.” Then Financial Peace would provide a more step-by-step approach of putting the biblical principles into action. The people who had already gone through Crown classes, Leacock said, responded best to the Financial Peace classes.

Ending the Capital Campaign

In September, Howard Books will release Ramsey’s next book, one that has more in common with Peter Drucker than Larry Burkett. EntreLeadership signals Ramsey’s efforts to translate his expertise in personal finance into the areas of leadership and small business. (He has been conducting EntreLeadership conferences since 2005.)

‘Churches see the pain that finances cause in people’s marriages and families.’— Dave Ramsey

Meanwhile, Ramsey’s Lampo Group (lampo is Greek for “give light” or “shine”) has been quietly reshaping Ramsey’s church outreach. The Momentum curriculum, aimed at pastors and church leaders, shares many of Financial Peace’s themes: eliminating debt, saving, and giving. But it looks at church budgets, too. Perhaps most controversially, the program argues that churches should not conduct capital campaigns for any purpose. Instead, Ramsey argues, churches should just teach members to mind their finances.

“In the capital campaign model, you’re tapping the few members who are giving and you’re asking for more,” said Hampton. Instead, he said, “If you free resources, families will give. They want to; they just don’t know how to fit it into their budget.”

The argument convinced the leadership of the 1,200-member Christ Church Assembly of God. Leaders had been planning a capital campaign in order to pay off the debts from two new buildings. Then, in September 2009, leaders talked to Ramsey’s Momentum staff.

Executive pastor Stephen Blandino said Momentum consultants told them, “If you have a capital campaign, and your people are in debt, how will you reach your goals?”

The church instead signed 763 people up for Financial Peace. During the 13-week course, attendees paid off $951,899 in personal debt and saved another $219,274. The church asks for annual pledges to its building fund, but hasn’t yet launched a capital campaign.

“We want to eliminate our [church] debt, but we want to help our people get rid of their debt,” Blandino said. The church’s use of Ramsey’s programs, he said, “is about how we change the culture of our church when it comes to how we think about money.”


August 22, 2011

MATT REDMAN Guest Post: ‘How My Children Taught Me To Take Big Risks For God’



As the father of four energetic boys and a beautiful daughter, I am regularly jumped upon in the comfort of my own home. Often I will be minding my own business, perhaps walking past the stairs, when one of my sons will leap from a great height and land on me, trusting that I will catch him. Having gotten over the initial shock of being mugged in my own house by a person half my size, I’ve learned to take this activity as a huge compliment. It says so much about what they think of me and of what they consider me to be capable of.

Apparently, they even think I have eyes in the back of my head. When they launch themselves from the sixth or seventh step, they are counting on my strength and quick reaction to make sure they don’t end up in a heap on the floor. I love their bounding confidence and enjoy the way it fuels a sense of carefree adventure in them.

I wonder if we could start to live the same way in God our Father. Could we be so convinced of His strength that we live with a new holy confidence? Could we become so utterly sure of Him that our lives are marked by some big, bold and courageous leaps of faith?

Perhaps the strength of God is something we underestimate and underemphasize today. In Psalm 21:13 the worshipper cries out, “Be exalted, O Lord, in Your strength” (NASB). God’s strength in the Old Testament is very clearly on display for all to see. We see Him bring victory on a battlefield and turn a weak army into a mighty winning force.

But what does His strength mean in our own context today? What does it look like in your life or mine? I think that the strength of God manifests itself among us in at least three separate ways: It creates the possible; it turns around the inevitable; it overcomes the hostile.

As Moses led the people of God out of captivity in Egypt and to the edge of the Red Sea, there seemed to be no way through—but the strength of God held back waters so the Israelites could cross over. In that moment the inevitable recapture they dreaded was flipped on its head, and they continued to live in their newfound freedom. And to cap it all off, when they were safely on the other side, God let the sea reform, overcoming and overwhelming the Egyptians in their hostile pursuit of His people. This is the true strength of God in action, and we must apply these principles to our own lives. You may be at a complete loss for how to go forward in a situation, but the strength of God can create a way.

You may feel that in your current circumstance you will lose or that a certain person, stress or pressure will gain a hold on you. But God in His mighty strength is able to maintain your freedom and turn around the seemingly inevitable. He can stand strong against the hostilities you may face in life, and He will overcome anything outside His plan for you.

We talk of the love, peace and grace of God at work in our lives—and rightly so, for this is absolutely the case. But we would do well to take hold of His strength at work among us, too, and begin to live in a place of confident expectation.

*Matt Redman has been a worship leader since he was 20. He has released five albums and written six books including his newest July album and book releases: 10,000 Reasons and Mirror Ball, respectively. Copyright 2011 Matt Redman. Mirror Ball is published by David C Cook.

August 22, 2011

ANNE GRAHAM LOTZ Plans Webcast For September 11, 10th Anniversary To Coincide With The Re-Release Of Her Book EXPECTING TO SEE JESUS



In conjunction with Zondervan re-releasing her book Expecting to See Jesus: A Wake-Up Call for God’s People this month, author and speaker Anne Graham Lotz will hold a national webcast on the 10th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Titled “A Wake Up Call for God’s People with Anne Graham Lotz and Joel C. Rosenberg,” the 2011 simulcast will feature messages from Lotz and the New York Times best-selling author.

“My prayer is that this simulcast … would serve to gather the church and reissue the wake-up call to the hearts of Christians everywhere,” said Lotz, whose other books include The Magnificent Obsession (Zondervan) and Just Give Me Jesus (Thomas Nelson). “It is my prayer that it would refocus us on Jesus as our hope for the future, and re-ignite such an intense longing for His return, that we live the rest of our lives with no regrets.”

The simulcast will be broadcast at 7 p.m. EST, Sunday, Sept. 11. Click here for more information.

August 21, 2011

FRANCIS CHAN Guest Post: ‘What I’ve Been Up To Since Moving To San Francisco’

“What are you doing?”

This seems to be the first question everyone asks when they see me, so I’m posting the ministries I am currently involved with…

1)   I’m working with my friends David Platt and Mark Beuving in developing a discipleship tool that will help equip believers to make disciples.  I am very excited about this, as I believe the greatest need in the American church is for allwho call themselves “Christian” to be out baptizing and making disciples.

2)   I’m helping my friend Chris Huang develop a conference on August 26-27. Much of the conference involves walking around San Francisco and actually doing ministry rather than just talking about it.  You can find out more about it

3)   I’m helping my brother Paul launch a new service that ministers to people who attend English services in Chinese churches.  By combining worship services, it frees up the pastors to focus on discipleship throughout the week.  We had our first service last Sunday and it was a great time.

4)   I’m involved with my friend Brad Buser in establishing a new school that will train people to reach unreached people groups.  We’re hoping to launch in about a year.  The Lord has increased my burden for reaching those who have never heard the gospel.

5)   I’m working with my friend Dave Lomas in figuring out how to implement discipleship at his church in SF.  I’ll be team teaching and helping develop leadership this fall in hopes of launching a discipleship movement.

6)   I’m teaching a preaching class for inner city ministers.  We recently had our first class, and I was pretty blown away by their testimonies.  I believe God is going to do significant things through these individuals.

7)   Lisa and I decided to write a book over a year ago, but we haven’t gotten very far.  Now that our baby is sleeping through the night, we should have some more time to write.

8)   I have been spending a lot of time meeting pastors in the area and trying to support them in any way.  I have met a lot of great leaders.  I’ve learned a lot from them and hopefully I have been of help to some of them.

I still travel and speak almost every week.  I tried to cut back significantly, but the calendar gets full somehow.  No complaints though.  I am enjoying ministry a lot. I love the new friends we have made in San Francisco.  It’s beginning to feel like family, but we miss our friends at Cornerstone a ton.  I still go back to preach there every 6-8 weeks or so.

Most importantly, I have really been enjoying my time alone with God.  I readDesiring God by John Piper again last week.  It still tops my list of books everyone needs to read.  Besides the Bible, no other book has had as much impact on my life.

August 20, 2011

MAX LUCADO Sits Down To Talk About His New Book MAX ON LIFE & Being A Pastor & Answering Questions People Have About God & The Bible



Minister and author Max Lucado has written a lot of books. Well, that’s an understatement. According to his publisher, he now has 100 million products in print, making him the most widely-read Christian writer on the planet. But behind the publishing juggernaut is a gentle man with a quiet voice, a pastoral heart, and a tender affection for the local church. His latest book, Max on Life: Answers and Insights to Your Most Important Questions (Nelson, 2010), is a series of questions and answers gleaned from his years at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio, Texas. Drew Dyck talked with Max about responding to tough questions and the best uses of a pastor’s authority.


Your new book, Max on Life, is intensely pastoral. You’re responding to people’s problems and fielding their questions. How have the questions you’ve received over the years shaped you?

They’ve been extremely formative. I can’t overstate their importance. I love the church. I honestly do. I love this little pond that God’s given me to fish and oversee here in San Antonio.

There is that time after services, where you’re just greeting one person after another after another. And about every fourth or fifth person will have a question, sometimes a difficult question.

Typically there’s not a lot of time to chat, but I’ve realized that truly hearing people’s questions is every bit as important as the sermon. So I lock in on that person, and I try to, for those few minutes that we have, hear that question as deeply as I can.

I pretend nobody else is in the foyer. It may be my only chance to hear this person’s heart. These questions have meant a lot to me. They seem to stick in my memory vault. Then they will work their way into messages in the future. Remember that guy who asked me about divorce? Or that person who wondered if it’s all right to play with an Ouija board? They just seem to surface. Yes, questions have been tremendously helpful for me.

Questions about God’s goodness, even his existence, have been raised by popular atheist authors. Do pastors today have to be philosophers? How do you deal with those really tough questions?

We have to be ready to respond to what people are hearing throughout the week. Most people, however, don’t want a complicated response. My goal is always to keep the cookies on the lower shelf, to keep the answer accessible. Most of the books on a pastor’s shelves are too complex for what people want. My main job is to distill an understandable answer that people can take home.

People want pastors to bring a frame of reference to conversations that is biblically-based and God-centered.

There are some exceptions to that. Every church has some people who are extraordinarily intellectual. But 90 percent of the people are saying, “I prayed that God would heal my father, but he still died. How am I supposed to process that?” That was a real question that someone asked me yesterday.

So for three minutes I tried to gently suggest that sometimes God doesn’t do what we want, but he always does what is right. I didn’t try to get too philosophical. She just needed somebody to reassure her.

Some pastors, like Tim Keller or John Piper, are different than I am, and they excel at reaching those deeper thinkers. I listen to their sermons, and they’re just at a different level. And I think that’s phenomenal. I’m so grateful for people like that. I speak to folks who don’t dwell at that altitude.

When a person first asks you a question, are they just testing to see if you can be trusted?

Yes, a person’s first question isn’t really the question. Their first question is kind of like tossing the tennis ball into the air. It’s a practice swing. They’re just testing to see if I am listening to them or not.

So I make a habit of following up the first question with a question of my own: “Can you give me an example of that? When did that last happen to you? What effect has that had on you?” When I do that, I find that I hear them better.

If I answer too quickly, my odds of providing a good answer diminish. Sometimes people don’t want an answer; they just want to be heard. They just need to get something off their chests.

I heard a counselor once say, “Try to find the question behind the question.” That’s good advice for pastors. Even when people come at you and they’re a bit antagonistic, I’ll sometimes be so bold as to say, “Now, what’s the question behind this question? What do you really want to talk about?”

Are you generally tempted to answer a question with too little information or too much?

Probably with too little information. Even this morning I was reflecting on yesterday’s services and conversations. I was thinking, Oh, I wish I’d said this. I wish I’d said that. I could have done a better job of giving practical solutions.

Sometimes people come to you with such huge issues, even in casual settings. I’ll be in the grocery store and somebody will come up and say, “I’ve got to talk to you about my father, who just got put back in rehab. What can I do?” I think, Wow, this is not the time.

Often I will say, “I really want to put you in touch with the right person for this question.” That’s been a helpful phrase for me. It implies that I may not be the right person. Or I’ll say, “Call my office tomorrow. Let’s talk about this on the phone, and we’ll see if we can put you in touch with the right person.”

That keeps me from pledging an eight-week counseling commitment right on the spot, which I’m probably not best qualified to do. I know I wouldn’t do as well as other people would. Pastors can’t take on every problem and solve everybody’s need.

What does it mean to be a pastor with people’s questions? Do people view you as a representative of God, or more as an empathetic friend?

They’re asking me questions because they believe God has told me something. And of course I know that’s not always the case. But they’re asking because they think I will bring a frame of reference to this conversation that is biblically-based and God-centered. So I really want to do that. When people ask me questions, I find myself praying: Lord, is there a verse I can give here? Is there something I need to be especially sensitive to? And if a verse comes to my mind, often I’ll just quote that verse.

My wife is exceptional at this. When people come and ask her for prayer, she doesn’t do much more than quote a verse or two, and then she’ll start praying. She’ll say, “Now don’t be anxious about anything, but by prayer and supplication make all your requests known to God.” The person may not realize she just quoted a verse. She doesn’t say, “I’m about to quote to you Philippians 4.” But that’s a very effective way to minister. So I’m learning from her, and trying to do that more.

You don’t need a huge arsenal of verses. Maybe six or eight verses that you’re very familiar with, and that you are comfortable reciting. For instance, every preacher should be ready with Matthew 11:28: “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Or Psalm 23. Those should be part of our vernacular. What a gift those verses can be in difficult situations.

When people come with questions, they reveal a glimpse into the state of their spiritual life. Do you feel obligated to inquire about their spiritual condition?

Yes, I do. That’s why I usually follow up their question with a question of my own: “How’s this affecting you?” “Do you feel close to God these days?” or “Is this discouraging to you?” That helps me see where they are. So many people come to us because they’re angry at somebody. So you’ve got to feel that anger with them for a little bit, but then say, “Now, if you really try to get even with them, is that going to solve this problem?”

You may need to say, “Sounds like your biggest challenge is to forgive.” At some point every angry person has to deal with forgiveness and turning things over to Christ. Sometimes you have to speak firmly and clearly about that aspect of being a Christian.

How does pastoral authority apply here?

The first thing that comes into my mind is when we find ourselves giving counsel to an individual who is about to make a decision and we are trying to urge them down a particular path.

We no longer live in a day in which the pastor is given authority just by virtue of the title. That change is probably good for us. Now we must earn the authority to speak into someone’s life.

By nature I’m a pretty gentle person. But when I have seen our church members head down the route of divorce, or head into a career that’s going to take all their time away from their kids, I feel within me a burning, a passion rising, and I’ll warn them directly. And I reserve terminology for times like that: “Now, brother, I want to offer some counsel and to talk to you as a pastor.”

How do people respond?

They respond well. They may not always agree with me. But I think they respect it. Part of that is that I’ve been here since 1988. Some of that comes with time. But even as a young pastor, we have to take Paul’s words about not letting anybody despise our youth. We are called to speak into people’s lives. The Holy Spirit is leaning into us, counting on us to speak truth to people. In those one-on-one settings, that’s absolutely essential.

Sermons provide a wonderful opportunity to be the voice of authority in someone’s life. It’s not a one-on-one setting, so they don’t feel quite as threatened or defensive. But in a sermon we can speak direction into someone’s life. I’m doing a series on grace right now. I’m concerned about the person who thinks, Okay, grace gives me license to sin. The Romans 6 question: “Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?” So in one sermon, I said, “If you’re thinking these lessons on grace are giving you permission to do evil, consider yourself corrected.” And I just stopped. I let that sit for about 30 seconds. I think that’s effective—just giving a firm word like that. “Consider yourself corrected.” I’m really not an in-your-face kind of preacher. I’m more pastoral and gentle. But one of our privileges is to speak against bad thinking.

August 18, 2011

Former SKILLET Guitarist BEN KASICA Addresses Fans & Industry Peers With Moving Letter


[Kasica is the guy on the far left]



Earlier this year, Skillet guitarist Ben Kasica announced his departure from the two-time GRAMMY-nominated band. Kasica left to pursue a new venture, which he shares below in a personal letter to his fans, industry and artist peers:

Dear Friends,

Many of you know after 10 years of playing with Skillet, I’ve chosen to move on. Many people have questioned why I would leave a band ‘at the top’ to pursue ‘smaller’ things. Here is my answer.

When I was 16, I was given the opportunity of a lifetime – to play guitar in my favorite band Skillet. I had been a fan since I was 12, attending loads of concerts, “moshing”, proudly wearing Skillet t-shirts, etc. I never thought I would ever actually be in the band. I was just a normal kid that loved God and believed He had the best for me. But, through a good friend, I got a call for an audition and somehow really believed in my heart it was going to work out. Two weeks later, I was on the road touring and playing in the band. Ten years, almost two million records, countless amazing fans and a myriad of priceless memories later, I’m here writing this memo.

I grew up on Christian music and it maintains a special and unique place in my heart for the way it inspired and shaped me as a child and for how it has contributed to my maturity as a young adult growing up in the business. I often think back to when I was a 12-year old kid, lying in bed with my headphones blaring, dreaming about being a rock star. I think every kid has moments when they dream big dreams like these. The trouble is, most don’t really know how to ever achieve those dreams, even if they know a sense of calling from God. This next phase of life for me is committed to seeing others’ dreams become reality and encouraging people along in their destiny in God.

I recently formed a company called Skies Fall Media Group. The name ‘Skies Fall’ was inspired by the imagery of the Kingdom of Heaven coming down to the earth. The mission of the company is to facilitate a wide range of creative business development in the world of the arts and media. Initially forged as a small recording and production company in 2005, the company was expanded in 2008 to take on artist development, publishing and management and become an artist-centric independent record label, Skies Fall Records. Coinciding with the record company, we operate a full-service recording studio where we are writing and producing music with our clients.

To artists, I hope to be an encouragement to you to continue in your heavenly calling and that you would know refreshment in your work; that you would be reminded of when you were a young musician dreaming of doing music, when you were on a mission to make a difference in this world, speaking the most powerful language in the world through music; that the long drives and early mornings and the absence of normal church-life would be met by a renewed desire to live out the mandate of God on your lives; that you might actually live in the fullest measure of who God created you to be.

Pope Benedict XVI met with artists in the Sistine Chapel recently and said, “You are the custodians of beauty…you have the opportunity to speak to the heart of humanity, to touch individual and collective sensibilities, to call forth dreams and hopes, to broaden the horizons of knowledge and of human engagement. Be grateful, then, for the gifts you have received and be fully conscious of your great responsibility to communicate beauty, to communicate in and through beauty! Through your art, you yourselves are to be heralds and witnesses of hope for humanity!”

I hope that together we can make a difference in the world, that we can communicate the heart of God through creativity and inspiration. I hope that together we can set precedents in business, the arts and media worthy of being modeled by the world. I hope that our success not be gauged solely by sales and numbers, but by our honor for each other, by our excellence in our spheres of influence and by the measure we allow the Spirit of God to lead us. I’m privileged and excited to join you in these endeavors. 

Sincerely yours, 

Ben Kasica

Skies Fall Media Group is focused on an artist-centric approach to give the artist maximum creative control and profits for their work. In 2010, they released A String Tribute to Skillet from Cellofourte (featuring Tate Olsen, cellist for Skillet). Earlier this year, they released Americana/folk artist Everett Thomas’ Visions of the Sea.

Skies Fall Media Group is now gearing up for this week’s release of the debut radio single, “Live for Love,” from the new band, We Are Leo. This Chicago-area based pop/rock quartet has developed their distinct brand of energetic, message-based music over the course of three years of touring, earning them a legion of loyal, grass-roots fans while playing with the likes of Skillet, Family Force 5 and House of Heroes. More information is forthcoming on their debut release this fall.

For more information on Skies Fall Media Group, visit


August 17, 2011



Steven Curtis Chapman is practically a legend in Christian music. Yet, even with a 20 year+ experience in the Christian music, and 50+ GMA Dove Awards, this beloved singer releases his 17th album, Re:Creation to Sparrow records August 2nd, 2011. But with this album, Steven returns to his classic pop sound as he delivers six all-new tracks, as well as remaking several of his well-known tracks. He also includes the popular “Morning Has Broken,” featuring vocals from his son Caleb. These combinations make for an enjoyable album from Steven Curtis Chapman, most comparable to his award-winning project Declaration.

The upbeat radio single “Do Everything” immerses the listener into Steven’s enjoyable pop sound, creating a track very similar musically to “Dive.” With “Do Everything,” Steven reminds the listener to “do every thing that you do to the glory of the one who made You… to bring a smile to His face, to tell the story of grace with every move that you make and everything that you do.” This track was simply perfect, and it was awesome to hear some new, but classic sounding music from Steven again. The more acoustic “Long Way Home” has a bit of a country feel to it, a track about how with the Lord’s help, we will get through any trials in our life, even if it does feel like we are taking the long way home.

Steven next brings life to the 90s classic “The Great Adventure,” adding more of an acoustic feel to it, but definitely making good use of pounding drums. “Dive (Deeper)” has almost a Celtic feel to it, but also sounds very serious and almost a bit haunting, making for a very enjoyable new take on this beloved SCC hit. “All That’s Left” is a bit mellow, but speaks of how all we really have to give is love and is all that matters. It is largely based on 1 Corinthians 13, so it was very enjoyable to hear this beloved chapter of Scripture put to music.

“Heaven In the Real World,” this time made up of acoustic guitars and strings was nice to hear again, as was “Speechless,” which was much slower and also made up again of acoustic guitars. But because “Live Out Loud” was acoustic with a funky pop beat, I actually enjoyed it more than the original! Then, one of my favorite Steven Curtis Chapman songs, “For the Sake of the Call” (featured on his fourth project by the same name), and “Magnificent Obsession,” were very slow and acoustic as well. They did have a slight drumbeat, making them  still enjoyable to take a listen to.

Remember that Steven Curtis Chapman single featured in Veggietales’ It’s A Meaningful Life, “Meant to Be”? That song is on here, too! Another original, the track reminds the listener that they have a purpose and aren’t here by accident. The strong strings at the ending were a very nice asset to this track. “More to this Life” is recreated as well, this time with a bit of strings but a lot of acoustic guitars, making it sound almost sad.

The mellow “Morning Has Broken”/”Sing Hallelujah” mixture featuring Steven’s son Caleb and a ton of choir effects was very angelic and moving, obviously chosen to be a part of this project because of Steven’s daughter Maria, putting a very serene and moving ending to Steven’s Re:Creationproject.

It was great to hear some new music from Steven Curtis Chapman! Some of the tracks on this project are remakes, and some are brand new, but all of the tracks combine to create a refreshing acoustic album. Re:Creation is a must-have for fans of Steven Curtis Chapman!

Rating: 4/5

Track listing:
1. Do Everything
2. Long Way Home
3. The Great Adventure (Recreated)
4. Dive (Recreated)
5. All That’s Left
6. Heaven In the Real World (Recreated)
7. Speechless (Recreated)
8. Live Out Loud (Recreated)
9. For the Sake of the Call (Recreated)
10. Magnificent Obsession (Recreated)
11. Meant to Be
12. More to This Life (Recreated)
13. Morning Has Broken
14. Sing Hallelujah

August 16, 2011


This week’s tweet of the week comes from Louie Giglio who tweeted this past weekend:

“Vision wed with patience rooted in sacrifice combined with endurance clothed in humility…these mark the road to greatness.”

Say no more.

August 16, 2011



Steven Curtis Chapman - recreation 2011 English Christian Album



GRAMMY Award-winning artist Steven Curtis Chapman sings songs & shares stories on fall tour presented by Show HOPE.

This fall, Show HOPE will present iconic music veteran Steven Curtis Chapman’s “Songs & Stories” tour. In a unique songwriter’s night experience rarely seen outside Nashville, TN, Chapman will be sharing the stage with acclaimed and emerging artists, Andrew Peterson and Sparrow Records’ Josh Wilson. The tour will run from September to November of this year in conjunction with the release of Chapman’s newest album, re:creation, coming to stores Aug. 9. To see Chapman explain more about re:creation, visit

Each night, “Songs & Stories” tour concert goers will hear the brand new songs featured on re:creation, including Chapman’s new single, “Do Everything,” which has already hit top 10 on both the AC-Monitor and AC-Indicator charts. The newest single is also No. 14 on the National Christian Audience Chart, and has over 77 stations supporting it. The GRAMMY Award winner will perform re-imagined versions of some of his biggest hits while taking advantage of the unique format to share the stories that inspired him to write both his current hits, and songs that have entertained for decades.

Additionally, audiences will also be treated to Chapman, Wilson and Peterson collaborating together on stage with a vast assortment of instruments from the ukulele to the cajon for a rare and memorable event.

The 24-city tour kicks off Sept. 29 and will hit major cities such as Atlanta, St. Louis, Denver and Portland before wrapping up on Nov. 3.

Chapman is also offering a unique pre-show experience for fans called “Soundcheck and Stories” which will include a Q&A with Chapman, an acoustic performance and an exclusive signed poster. For more date and ticket information about Steven Curtis Chapman and the upcoming “Songs & Stories” tour visit

August 15, 2011


1) Where are you right now? Sydney, Australia. Sitting on my couch, with my feet up, Tim Hughes record playing softly in the background 🙂

2) What’s in your pocket? A few Australian coins, a guitar pick, and a set of keys in my back pocket that I should have removed before sitting.

3) Latest set list? Here’s a list I recently worked on for a small, stripped back night of worship at church (Hillsong Chapel).

Hosanna (E) You’ll Come (E) Run (E) The Time Has Come (G) Savior King (D) Yahweh (A) Came To My Rescue (Bridge) (A) Stronger (A) This Is Our God (E) Hold Me Now (B) From The Inside Out (B) Mighty To Save (G) Salvation Is Here (A)

4) Last album you purchased? The Civil Wars- “Barton Hollow”

5) Best piece of advice you ever received? Our Pastor, Brian Houston, often says “the best is yet to come”. It’s a pretty great piece of advice to hold on to. Not resting on yesterday’s success, or being defeated by it’s dissappointments.. But looking forward, realising God’s not finished.. He’s alive, His word is living and active, He’s working all things together for good.. And we’re a part of it!

6) How do you stay sharp? I make sure I’m around people who are creative, motivated and inspired. Finding people doing what I do better than I do it…

7) What do you do 5 minutes before you lead worship? Sip honey/lemon tea and pray with our worship team.. Never want to try and just fit God somewhere into our songlists and plans.. Always want to come open, fitting into what it is that He is doing.

8) Biggest worship horror moment? Ha.. Probably when I was leading worship in a small meeting (disclaimer: not at home).. In the middle of a quiter song, a guy in one of the front rows called out “nope.. It’s too high, I can’t sing it.. I won’t sing it”. I think I just closed my eyes, and kept on singing.. A moment I’ll never forget.

9) How would you define worship? It’s our response to even just the smallest glimpse of Jesus.. and as we respond in awe, in praise and action, He reveals a little more of Himself.. And we are once again ruined for anything else.

10) One encouragement to worship leaders? Never diminish the value of your role.. Start by never diminishing your value of the One you are worshipping.


August 15, 2011

Pro Get It Lyrics

We in the M off Tillman
Posted with Young Jones
Yup, kin up in the building
But I ain’t tryna rap to you
I’m just tryna rap to you
For them boys that flodgin with ya matic put the strap to you
‘Cause homie a go getter
Stacks on deck and front like a cold killer
Think he gon’ live forever
But that gon’ happen never
Plus playing in these streets
You’ll get a slug through your sweater

So I’m on my grind, got truth up in my mind
And Jesus on my mouth, I let ’em know he lived and died
Tryna be a city light, got that JSon in my ride
Romans One-One-Six, Unashamed all the time
Hoping you feel the same way,
‘Cause you can come up on that guap and die in the same day
Yo momma and yo cousins be cryin’ at yo wake
And the wrath Christ ate be dumped on yo plate (yup)

Ayye you know what it is
Out for my kin let ’em know the truth live
I take it where the hood get it in
Bring it back to the block for you again
We in the streets like
G-g-get it, g-g-get it, g-g-get it, g-g-get it
G-g-get it, g-g-get it, g-g-get it, g-g-get it

Yup, you know what it is,
Running off your friends with that Jesus talk again
Back like I never left, PRo get it in
Let ’em know the king live while they sippin’ on gin
I pray to God that you ain’t running with G’s
The Four Fifth turn your North Face into swiss cheese
In the Devil’s symphony, you’re Ray Charles
Blind, but still playing with keys

Hey, I see it everyday B
Cats chase coins, Mario, Luigi
But never get the prize that they seek
He just locked in a box like Harry Houdini
But can’t escape this one,
It’s either pine over bars, pick one
But maybe you’ll escape right now
But one day be in flames, Hot Boy, Juvenile

Ayye you know what it is
Out for my kin let ’em know the truth live
I take it where the hood get it in
Bring it back to the block for you again
We in the streets like
G-g-get it, g-g-get it, g-g-get it, g-g-get it
G-g-get it, g-g-get it, g-g-get it, g-g-get it

Now if you’re feeling like a pimp then
Go and brush your shoulders off
But you can be a pimp and catch something you ain’t brushing off
And women don’t give it away to get ’em
If you only finding dogs, prolly lookin’ in the kennel
It’s the reason God tell us not to fornicate
‘Cause you don’t wanna find out if he’s the daddy Maury Povich’s way
And don’t believe what Beyonce sing on it
‘Cause if you try, prolly never put a ring on it
Love is kind, love is patient
He don’t love you baby girl if it ain’t worth the wait then
Yeah I’m throwing salt at your game ’cause you a slug
If you out there making babies you don’t plan to raise
The Bible make it clear, one man, one woman
Joined together, never severed, forever and ever
You looking like I did you wrong
That’s why we get in it to put you on, YUP

Ayye you know what it is
Out for my kin let ’em know the truth live
I take it where the hood get it in
Bring it back to the block for you again
We in the streets like
G-g-get it, g-g-get it, g-g-get it, g-g-get it
G-g-get it, g-g-get it, g-g-get it, g-g-get it

August 15, 2011

Justin Bieber At Teen Choice Awards: ‘Jesus Loves Every One Of You’ (VIDEO)


Justin Bieber isn’t shy when it comes to talking about his faith. He told thousands of fans at the Teen Choice Awards Sunday to keep God first.

After nabbing the choice music male artist award – in the form of a surfboard – Bieber thanked his screaming fans and brought his faith into the mix by saying: “I want to say that anything is possible. … You got to keep God first and always remember to keep family first. Jesus loves every one of you!”

The teen pop sensation has made similar comments before.

He told Entertainment Tonight earlier this year that “if you put God first and remember to always stay humble and always be gracious then anything can happen.”

With millions of fans, sold out tours, a double platinum album and Grammy nominations – all within three years – Bieber has been asked many times how he stays grounded.

His answer has always been God.

“I think that God is the only thing keeping me sane right now,” he said in a backstage interview at the American Music Awards last year.

The self-identified Christian, who has a new tattoo of Jesus’ name in Hebrew under his arm, has told media outlets, including The Associated Press, that he believes Jesus died on the cross for his sins and that he has a relationship with Jesus.

“He’s the reason I’m here so I definitely have to remember that,” he told AP. “As soon as I start forgetting, I got to click back and be like, you know, this is why I’m here.”

Bieber’s mother, Patricia Lynn Mallette, is a devout Christian. Initially, she was hesitant to have her son enter the secular music industry and pondered the Christian music industry instead. But she has said that she prayed about it and realized that God wanted her son to be a light in the world.

Bieber also won choice TV villain (from his appearance on “CSI”), choice male hottie, and choice twit at the Teen Choice Awards.

The “Ultimate Choice Award” went to country artist Taylor Swift.


August 15, 2011

Zondervan Downplays Criticism Of Updated NIV Bible As Overblown


Zondervan has defended its updated New International Version (NIV) following criticism of the revision of the world’s best-selling Bible translation by a Southern Baptists forum.

The censure came during the denomination’s annual meeting in June in Phoenix, when a debate on the 2011 translation was brought forward by a delegate rather than church leadership.

Passed overwhelmingly, the resolution faulted the new NIV, which combines the 1984 NIV and the controversial Today’s New International Version (TNIV), replacing both versions.

Calling the revision an “inaccurate translation,” the resolution said the new NIV changes the meaning of hundreds of verses, erasing gender-specific details that appear in the original language.

“We are disappointed that delegates to the Southern Baptist Convention passed a resolution opposing the updated NIV against the wishes of the SBC resolution committee, who affirmed the transparency of the NIV translation process,” Zondervan said in a statement.

The resolution encouraged that the Bible not be carried by LifeWay Christian Stores, which are affiliated with the SBC. Al Mohler, president of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, said that he regretted that the resolution addressed the chain so directly, according to Baptist Press.

However, LifeWay stores “continue to sell the 2011 NIV, while working through the process of review with our board of trustees,” LifeWay Christian Resources Director of Communications Micah Carter told Christian Retailing.

David Rooker, manager of The Scroll Discount Christian Store in Tyler, Texas, said that the new NIV was “being received well.” “As far as sales and customer response, it is being accepted,” he told Christian Retailing. “We’ve done pretty well with them so far. … We accepted Zondervan’s original buy-in, which gave us extra terms and discount. It also gave us a much deeper selection of NIV in our Bible department than we had previously. The result has been encouraging. … The new NIV criticism is much ado about nothing in the wider scheme of things.”

August 15, 2011

Hawk Nelson, FireFlight And SuperChick Team Up For MUSIC WITH A MISSION TOUR 2011



BEC Recordings’ and Tooth & Nail Records’ artists have been confirmed for one of the anticipated fall tours, MUSIC WITH A MISSION TOUR, in partnership with Compassion International and Headlining the tour will be Hawk Nelson along with label mates Manafest and Hyland.  Other artists to join the tour are Superchic[k], Fireflight, MIKESCHAIR, Kiros, Samestate, and on select dates Chasen. Full tour details, along with a list of dates, will be posted at

Founded by veteran artist managers Scott Andrews and Yogi Allgood, along with Mark Claassen (owner of Elite Talent Agency), the MUSIC WITH A MISSION TOUR will be an experience unlike any other. Focusing on the strength of Christian communities, the tour aims to give bigger purpose to music by providing a platform for organizations to help give to those less fortunate than themselves.

“We are thrilled that Music With A Mission is teaming up with Compassion International to bring a missional opportunity to each tour stop,” shares Stephanie Waldrop Artist Relations, Compassion International. “Our hope is that the lives of many children who live in underdeveloped nations across the globe will be impacted and released from poverty in Jesus name.”

Admission for a majority of the shows for the MUSIC WITH A MISSION TOUR will be only $15 at the door. A select number of VIP Ticket Experiences will be sold for each date, which will give fans access to behind the scenes action, early entry, exclusive merchandise among other bonuses.


August 13, 2011


I-I-I-I-I’m a full court mess if the Lord don’t use me
‘Cause I’m a full court mess if the Lord don’t use me,
I’m a full court mess if the Lord don’t use me
Running from my trials, thinking everything’s groovy
I’m a full court mess if the Lord don’t use me
Running from my trials, thinking everything’s groovy

Y’all see the way that I am now
Love out for the king, Imma stand now
Y’all don’t know if it wasn’t for the lamb now
Ain’t no telling what I would be minus his hand now

When I gang bang, when I slang K
Riding with a chopper when I change lanes
When I chase fame, full of hate mayne
Tryna get a couple ohs in my bank mayne
What I face mayne, what I break mayne
If I fall, tell me would I ever get up
I don’t even know why the Lord forgive us
Look at this chance at life that he give us
Now I’m rappin’ for him when I do perform
And I take the storm, while I’m waitin’ for him
If I break for him, love of the spirit is in me
I let it be great for him

So unashamed, I take hate for him
If that mean that I can’t even pay for him
You know I give everything for him
Some say that they down, but they ain’t for him

I know there’s nothing good inside me
My evil mind used to blind me
‘Till the spirit came to unbind me
Now I’m like, use me or otherwise I’m grimy

I’m a full court mess if the Lord don’t use me
Running from my trials, thinking everything’s groovy
‘Cause I’m a full court mess if the Lord don’t use me
Running from my trials, thinking everything’s groovy
I’m a full court mess if the Lord don’t use me
Running from my trials, thinking everything’s groovy
I’m a full court mess if the Lord don’t use me
Use me, U-u-u-use me, full court mess

Ok, J-E-S-U-S, that’s all I gotta say until my final… *breath*
KB, got O.C.D, I’m obsessed with Christ and somethings wrong with me
Me, me and I can’t breathe, homie I gotta die so that I can breathe
Through the Christ in me, may I proceed
Speaking about and preaching about the glory of the gospel
Hold up, with everything inside of me I gotta be anomaly
I gotta be rhythm modeling what I’m saying when I dont think
or on the microphone, I gotta give it to them moderately

Hold up, don’t nobody wanna hear nobody who ain’t living with they put it in the bullets
They take a look and know i got it going ____ oh my God to be you
I got disciples making sure I mean this
So what you got the crowd and all A’s like the deans list
If we been seizing, sing for a single reason
It’s in my genes kid, I pin hems (pen hymns) like a seamstress
Was living loosely, ’till the Lord pursued me
Induced me, then he moved me to see that gospel in his beauty
Bleeding profusely, but if he’s in my viewing, then he can use me up
Truly, homie I’m a…

I’m a full court mess if the Lord don’t use me
Running from my trials, thinking everything’s groovy
‘Cause I’m a full court mess if the Lord don’t use me
Running from my trials, thinking everything’s groovy
I’m a full court mess if the Lord don’t use me
Running from my trials, thinking everything’s groovy
I’m a full court mess if the Lord don’t use me
Use me, U-u-u-use me, full court mess

August 13, 2011


Yeah I’m on a mission, Yeah I’m on a mission, Yeah I’m on a mission, Yeah I’m on a mission
P-p-p-playing my position, playing my position, playing my position, playing my position
I-I-I-I am blasting off to Mars and you know I ain’t stopping
I am blasting off to Mars and you know I ain’t stopping, I am blasting off to Mars and you know I ain’t stopping

I am blasting off to Mars, (Houston we have a problem)
Soaring like a rocket, but I’m not Kevin Martin
I’m so unashamed for this cross I have my heart in
He set me ablaze I’m on fire, arson
Ain’t no turning back boy, I have just departed
It’d be Looney Tunes to quit, Marvin Martian
Yeah I’m on a mission, I ain’t worried ’bout no haters
I’m blowing up this gospel with my space modulator

Wait a minute it’s the grace of the king coming forward, no opposition
In a marathon running for the cross
I can see the finish line and there ain’t no quitting
Everybody wanna rap for the Lord
What you asking for, boy yes I’m with it
Our __?__ are ready for the takeoff already, do we have ignition?

Yeah I’m on a mission, Yeah I’m on a mission, Yeah I’m on a mission, Yeah I’m on a mission
P-p-p-playing my position, playing my position, playing my position, playing my position
I-I-I-I am blasting off to Mars and you know I ain’t stopping
I am blasting off to Mars and you know I ain’t stopping, I am blasting off to Mars and you know I ain’t stopping

Ok I’m blasting off to Mars, yes sir I’m ’bout to leave Earth
And if I fall Christ catch me like a wide receiver
Bye-bye to my problems, they are old like a beeper
I hope you hear me loud and clear let me adjust my tweeters
The stars have war ’till they get crushed my Darth Vader
But I walk on that sky and be at peace with my maker
I don’t need your fame, addicted to the Lord’s name
I’m a fiend while my heart beat, Eddie King

I don’t wanna ever be the one the Lord said lived his life in vain
If that sounds crazy, then guess I am clinically insane
I’m not of this world, boy you should get that up in your brain
I-I am taking off, but I-I ain’t on a plane

Yeah I’m on a mission, Yeah I’m on a mission, Yeah I’m on a mission, Yeah I’m on a mission
P-p-p-playing my position, playing my position, playing my position, playing my position
I-I-I-I am blasting off to Mars and you know I ain’t stopping
I am blasting off to Mars and you know I ain’t stopping, I am blasting off to Mars and you know I ain’t stopping

August 11, 2011

Evangelical Christian Leaders Pay Tribute to John Stott

Evangelical Christian leaders from around the world having pouring out their tribute to evangelical icon John Stott, who died recently at the age of 90.

Stott, known for shaping 20th century evangelicalism through his writing and preaching, died 3:15 p.m. in his retirement home at St. Barnabas College, located 30 miles away from London. He was surrounded by his longtime secretary Frances Whitehead and close friends who read Scriptures and listened to Handel’s “Messiah” when he passed.

An Anglican theologian from the U.K., Stott was the chief architect of the 1974 Lausanne Covenant and the author of over 50 Christian books in which he took complex theology and explained it in a way lay people could understand. One of his most popular books wasBasic Christianity (1958), which has been translated into more than 60 languages, according to Christian book publisher InterVarsity Press. He has also influenced millions of Christians through other well-known titles including Christ the Controversialist (1970),Issues Facing Christians Today (1984) and the one he always considered his best: The Cross of Christ (1986).

In 2005, Stott was featured in TIME magazine as one of the world’s “100 Most Influential People.”

Despite his wide influence on the evangelical faith, many fondly knew him as “Uncle John.”

When news broke of his death, evangelical leaders immediately posted statements to mourn and honor Stott as a beloved mentor and one of the greatest evangelical thinkers of his time.

“The evangelical world has lost one of its greatest spokesmen,” famed U.S. evangelist Billy Graham said in a statement.

“I have lost one of my close personal friends and advisors. I look forward to seeing him again when I go to Heaven.”

Graham helped organize the international meeting that unveiled the Lausanne Covenant, a historic document that served as a manifesto for Christian evangelism worldwide. When he heard of Stott’s death from his assistant, Graham shed tears and was speechless, his grandson Tullian Tchividjian said via Twitter.

California megachurch pastor Rick Warren called Stott one of his “closest mentors.”

“I flew to the UK recently just to pray for him &sit by his bed. What a giant!” the Saddleback Church pastor tweeted.

Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe, secretary general of the World Evangelical Alliance, the largest global body of evangelicals, said he was personally impacted by Stott’s teachings.

“Uncle John, was a great influence in my own theological development. His commitment to biblical orthodoxy, global mission and unity in the body of Christ were foundational in my own spiritual journey,” said Tunnicliffe in a statement.

Stott was the primary author of the Preamble to the 1951 constitution of the WEA, which today represents 600 million evangelicals in 128 countries. In the document, Stott provided a biblical framework and the three primary purposes for the existence of the WEA.

A major legacy that Stott left to the world church is the Langham Partnership International and its U.S. chapter John Stott Ministries. The organization trains preachers, funds doctoral education for evangelical thinkers and provides evangelical books to pastors around the world.

Chris Wright, international director of Langham Partnership International, issued a statement on the John Stott Memorial website celebrating the preacher’s Christ-like character.

“Like Moses, he was one of the greatest leaders God has given to his people, and yet at the same time, one of the humblest men on the face of the earth. He was, for all of us who knew him, a walking embodiment of the simple beauty of Jesus, whom he loved above all else,” wrote Wright.

Lausanne Movement executive chair S. Douglas Birdsall and international director Lindsay Brown said in a joint statement:

“We are saddened by his departure, but strengthened with the knowledge that his great confidence and his lifelong hope in Christ has now been made real to him, and his life’s work has been vindicated.”

They noted that Stott’s “greatest contribution was to articulate clearly and to defend robustly the evangelical faith which he always understood to be biblical faith, grounded in the New Testament.”

The Langham Partnership International is welcoming those affected by the life and ministry of John Stott to post their comments in an online remembrance book on the John Stott Memorial website. Information on memorials and event commemorating the life of Stott will also be released on the site.

August 11, 2011

Dannah Gresh Brings Message of Sexual Purity To Brooklyn Projects


With an intention to proactively reduce the risk of early sexual debut, best-selling author and speaker Dannah Gresh is bringing her mother-daughter connecting event, Secret Keeper Girl LIVE-the Pajama Party Tour, to the Brooklyn Tabernacle as part of a joint outreach to support moms in one of the most at-risk neighborhoods in the country. Billed as a practical modesty, fashion, and beauty truth event, the event is scheduled for Friday, Aug. 19 at 6:30 p.m. and is designed for girls ages 8-12 and their mothers living in the projects of Brooklyn. Tickets are free.

“I’ve known for years that one of the best ways to reduce the risk of early sexual activity, eating disorders and depression for a teen girl is a parent-child connection while they are tweens, which is why we created the Secret Keeper Girl line of resources in the first place,” says Gresh. “But, as I’ve learned through recent research, for single moms with limited incomes in inner city projects, this kind of connectedness only seems to occur if there is peer pressure or a movement to initiate it.”

Gresh, whose book Six Ways to Keep the “Little” in Your Girl (Harvest House) reached the number one spot on Amazon last year for parenting books and continues to be a top seller, held a similar event in January 2011 in the Bronx and during that time received a call from the Director of BTKids at the Brooklyn Tabernacle about bringing her message to their local community. Gresh’s alma mater, Cedarville University in Ohio, also got on board by providing significant financial support to make the event free to attendees.

“These moms desire for their daughters to be safe and sexually protected as much as the moms of Santa Barbara or the suburbs of Atlanta, but they need our help to win this battle,” says Gresh.

Featuring a pajama party theme, the two and a half hour show brings together music, crazy mother-daughter showdowns, and a hilarious look at fashion during the “Totally Tubular TV Moms Show,” which shows off the fashion of famous moms like Lucy, Jane Jetson, Alice from the Brady Bunch, and Claire Huxtable. Another highlight of the evening is the fashion show for the girls featuring some of today’s hottest styles and how to wear them in a modest way. Between the two fashion shows, Gresh’s team of teachers takes the audience into the Bible to talk about peer pressure and internal beauty.

Tickets to the Brooklyn event are available by Tickets are free and free childcare is also available for younger children. For more information, please call (717) 290-2097. A limited number of Secret Keeper Girl: 8 Great Dates and Six Ways to Keep The “Little” in Your Girl will be given to those attending.

The Brooklyn event is the first stop for the 40-city fall Secret Keeper Girl—LIVE tour. The event has appeared in more than 100 cities across the United States, with over 200,000 tween girls and their moms experiencing the Secret Keeper Girl connecting resources.

Dannah Gresh has sold nearly a million copies of her books, including Six Ways to Keep The “Little” In Your Girl: Guiding Your Daughter From Her Tweens To Her Teens, written for moms of tweens who are concerned about the cultural pressure to grow up too fast. Gresh has been featured in major media around the country including Fox News,, Woman’s Wear Daily, TIME, USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, and on numerous radio programs.

August 10, 2011

REUBEN MORGAN Guest Post: Life Lessons From The New Hillsong Album Title GOD IS ABLE

It might be short and simple, but the title of the latest Hillsong LIVE album is packed with God-inspired wisdom and Kingdom-shaped truth. In every season, in every situation, being reminded that God Is Able can help keep hearts on fire and lives on track. How do I know this? Because that precisely what I’ve experienced for myself.

But this is not going to be a testimony piece. My life has been no harder, no more dramatic than anyone else’s. Yes, there have been times of great rejoicing, times of suffering, tears of happiness and tears of sorrow, and some of you will have known greater grace, more dramatic rescues or harder journeys home to our Father.

The lessons and experiences that I want to share are the ones that are woven in and out of the songs on God Is Able. These songs are packed with meaning, each one slightly different, but together they unite to form something far louder and larger. Together they are stronger.

The title song was written last year with a specific weekend in mind. We were approaching our annual event where we gather as a church and make a deliberate choice to give money in support of a unique mission – often overseas, always doing something to overcome injustice and build the Kingdom here on earth. It’s a great time and I’m always amazed and encouraged by the passion and commitment which people put into it. Many will put aside extra money all year so that they can lend their support. So, knowing this was coming up, I wanted to write a song that reminded us of God’s amazing ability to use our generosity in powerful ways. When it comes to the matter of giving, generous hands will never be empty because – as we are reminded in Ephesians 3 – God is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.

So I suppose I should have seen it coming. I thought the song would inspire people a little, encourage them in their giving and maybe lead some to think about the ways in which God could transform others through their kindness. I had no idea that the three simple words – God is able – would become so important to us, but they did. As Australia was shocked by floods and cyclones, as we watched our neighbors deal with earthquakes and saw friends from further away go through the horrors of further earthquakes, tsunami and nuclear crisis, those three little words became our anchor in the storm. Troubles come, but God is Able. Sorrow rips at the soul, but God is Able. Hope appears lost, but God is still – always and forever – Able.

What started out as a song of celebration ended up sustaining us through our desperation. Isn’t that a great illustration of the power of praise? What happens when our hands are lifted high can often end up helping us when our heads hang low.

So many of the songs on the album are linked by this theme of overcoming – from “Rise” to “The Lost Are Found,” “With Us” to “You Are More” – and yet it is not an album of laments. This sort of paradox is typical of worship, and it seems to me that there is always something upside down about singing songs to God. I suppose it’s even there in the titles: we start with “Rise” and come towards the end with “The Cry of the Broken.” Normally it’s the brokenness that precedes the standing up, but in God’s order everything is different: when we rise up and sing it, there should never be too long before we’re aware of the world beyond the walls and our call to be among the people whose journey back to God is still in motion.

The other day I heard someone say that some people meet Jesus on the road to Damascus, but for others, their conversion is more like the road to Emmaus: a gradual realization that Jesus is with them, alongside them, igniting their hearts and opening their eyes. It struck me that this is another good thing to remember – not just when we are praying for our friends and family who do not yet know God for themselves, but for those of us within the church as well. Sometimes God acts with such power we are left stunned and silent, but at other times, He works quietly, almost imperceptibly, gently warming our hearts to Him. Remembering this makes me even more amazed at the power of those three little words that sit on the cover of the album: God is able to work in ways that we can never hope to predict.

One last thing. If you take a look at the album cover you will see some pretty fancy, handmade art. It took a long time and a lot of patience to create the piece, and again it’s a beautiful illustration of church. Thread is such a fragile thing, and only when it is combined with other strands can it really begin to stand out. Isn’t that just like the local church? None of us are strong enough on our own, but together we are stronger. And there’s one essential ingredient we must never forget: it is only when these threads are taken in the hands of the artist and transformed over time that they become something that is truly beautiful and beautifully true.


Hillsong Live - God Is Able 2011 English Christian Album Download


August 10, 2011

NewSong Band’s Eddie Carswell and Bill Goodwin Honored As Champions of the Faith



Eddie Carswell and Billy Goodwin, founding members of GRAMMY-nominated NewSong, were named Musician of the Year at the inaugural The Champions of the Faith Awards & Benefit Concert, held this week at the International Christian Retail Show in Atlanta.

Presented by the Premier Foundation, in partnership with CBA, the awards recognize businesses, organizations, entertainers, individuals and Christian retailers and vendors who are “champions” of the Christian faith by living lives dedicated to the principles taught by Jesus Christ.

In addition to Carswell and Goodwin, honorees included NASCAR’s Trevor Bayne (Athlete of the Year); Karen Kingsbury (Author of the Year); World Vision’s Richard Stearns (Charity of the Year); and AFFIRM Films/Sony Pictures Entertainment’s Rich Peluso (Business Person of the Year), among others. The event featured a concert by NewSong, along with GMA Artist of the Year Francesca Battistelli, as well as special guests Mike Donehey of Tenth Avenue North and visual artist Jared Emerson.

The Premier Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) public foundation committed to fulfilling the mission of spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. With the cooperation of the Premier Group (Premier Productions, Premier Christian Cruises, Premier Festivals and Camp Electric), the Premier Foundation touches millions of people every year through Christian concerts, radio and other Christ-centered events.

Co-founded by Carswell and Goodwin in 1981, NewSong is celebrating an unprecedented 30th year in Christian music. One True God, the band’s 17th recording, debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Christian/Gospel Albums chart in May, while NewSong’s Winter Jam 2011 Tour Spectacular was the #1 tour in the world for the first quarter, according to Pollstar. The group has amassed 20 #1 singles, a Grammy nomination, and a #1 mainstream adult contemporary single, among numerous other achievements.

For further information on NewSong, visit, and for additional information on The Champions of the Faith Awards & Benefit Concert,



August 10, 2011

Pro Mission To Mars Lyrics

Yeah I’m on a mission, Yeah I’m on a mission, Yeah I’m on a mission, Yeah I’m on a mission
P-p-p-playing my position, playing my position, playing my position, playing my position
I-I-I-I am blasting off to Mars and you know I ain’t stopping
I am blasting off to Mars and you know I ain’t stopping, I am blasting off to Mars and you know I ain’t stopping

I am blasting off to Mars, (Houston we have a problem)
Soaring like a rocket, but I’m not Kevin Martin
I’m so unashamed for this cross I have my heart in
He set me ablaze I’m on fire, arson
Ain’t no turning back boy, I have just departed
It’d be Looney Tunes to quit, Marvin Martian
Yeah I’m on a mission, I ain’t worried ’bout no haters
I’m blowing up this gospel with my space modulator

Wait a minute it’s the grace of the king coming forward, no opposition
In a marathon running for the cross
I can see the finish line and there ain’t no quitting
Everybody wanna rap for the Lord
What you asking for, boy yes I’m with it
Our __?__ are ready for the takeoff already, do we have ignition?

Yeah I’m on a mission, Yeah I’m on a mission, Yeah I’m on a mission, Yeah I’m on a mission
P-p-p-playing my position, playing my position, playing my position, playing my position
I-I-I-I am blasting off to Mars and you know I ain’t stopping
I am blasting off to Mars and you know I ain’t stopping, I am blasting off to Mars and you know I ain’t stopping

Ok I’m blasting off to Mars, yes sir I’m ’bout to leave Earth
And if I fall Christ catch me like a wide receiver
Bye-bye to my problems, they are old like a beeper
I hope you hear me loud and clear let me adjust my tweeters
The stars have war ’till they get crushed my Darth Vader
But I walk on that sky and be at peace with my maker
I don’t need your fame, addicted to the Lord’s name
I’m a fiend while my heart beat, Eddie King

I don’t wanna ever be the one the Lord said lived his life in vain
If that sounds crazy, then guess I am clinically insane
I’m not of this world, boy you should get that up in your brain
I-I am taking off, but I-I ain’t on a plane

Yeah I’m on a mission, Yeah I’m on a mission, Yeah I’m on a mission, Yeah I’m on a mission
P-p-p-playing my position, playing my position, playing my position, playing my position
I-I-I-I am blasting off to Mars and you know I ain’t stopping
I am blasting off to Mars and you know I ain’t stopping, I am blasting off to Mars and you know I ain’t stopping

August 8, 2011

Pro A Life Worth Dying For Lyrics

Within all men, there’s a desire
To push through the pain and not burn when we walk through the fire, see
Though we know there’s something much greater than us,
Our hearts desire, tells us the only thing important, is us
From life’s first cry to our final resting position
Is a constant jocky for significance and attention
And as we chase the Grim Reaper with his diamond covered sickle
Or send our brothers to meet him with vanity’s pistol
It’s clear that we are craving life!
Get misdirected, trapped in the snare of night
Who can save us from this dastardly device?
Give us purpose as we claw and we fight?
This can’t be it, I’m sure there’s more.
Show us a life, worth dying for…

Ladies and gentlemen, I’d like to welcome you, to the truth!
I want you to take this journey with me, (turn me up a little bit)
Stillborn, I was born unresponsive,
Even though I breathe I’m still dead to the beating on my conscience
Displays a lot, but if you think about it
‘Cause I live life for myself and I ain’t even have to think about it
As I yield to the wickedness inside me,
I attempt to play God like Bruce Almighty or Jim Caviezel
Sin deceive you and make you think there’s not a love greater than he do
It’s death, that Satan’s dealin’ in this game I think I’m winning
You always lose in Las Vegas though you get cash to the ceiling
It’s my demise on dark nights concealing (get it)
I still pray I don’t die playing a villain like Heath
What you peeping my Ledger, it’s the sum of a deader
Hoping God don’t cash in on sins that he measured
That’s why thugs hit blocks with dope and Berettas
Thinking if they more control, that things would be better
It’s life that you crave on this operating table called Earth, We need saving
That’s why women give they body to these thieves
Thinking if they gain his love, it’s the cure to they disease
And gangs fight over territory they have never owned
‘Cause something burns inside that says this is not your home
This a sport where your money matters hardly
You can ball and never get a trophy, similar to Barkley
I guess the point I’m really trying to make
We all on death row, Snoop, Pac, and Dre
And the Devil is sure to trust ’em, like we never should
Make us popular but in his heart he would kill us if he could
Tell the truth, some never listen though
Thinking he alive like Pinocchio, while being a creation that disrespect the maker
Life is only found in Geppetto, Creator, GOD!

August 8, 2011


We have seen a darkness
But we have seen a light
We have felt the love
Of a hope’s hot blood
In the machinery of night

We have seen a darkness
But we have seen the sun
We have come undone
To a love’s hot song
In a symphony of blood

The valley of the shadow knows our name
We have seen a night
But we have seen the day
Dressed in the blood of love’s hot veins
We have overcome
Yeah, we have overcome

Born into the grave
But born a second time
We’ve been born again
Into loves hot hands
On someone else’s dime

The valley of the shadow knows our name
We have seen a night
But we have seen the day
Dressed in the blood of loves hot veins
We have overcome
Yeah, we have overcome

You have called us loved
And you have called us wanted
One time we were bruised
We were bankrupt and haunted

August 8, 2011


Raise your voice
Chase away the ghosts
The pain that haunts a heart
The things we fear the most
The entropy of life
The slow decay of time
that wars against our bones

All these sinking ships
Are ruled against the wave
The raging of the tide
The tyranny of days
And sleep would chase us down
Sleep would have its way
And night would fall upon us all

But I believe you can overcome my economy
You can dig me out of the grave
I believe you can overcome my economy
You can dig me out of the grave

The weight of love
It rests upon us all
The people we’ve become
The people that we’ve known
Longing for a day
Arrested by a hope
That death could not foreclose upon

I believe you can overcome my economy
You can dig me out of the grave
And I believe you can overcome my economy
You can dig me out of the grave

I believe you can over come my hearts economy
Yeah you can dig me out of the grave
And I believe you can over come my economy
Yeah you can dig me out of the grave

August 8, 2011


A room sometimes is a body
With the loneliest view
And the porch lights grow dim
With every on-setting hour
Where the stars seem so finite to you

But love it ain’t like the chemicals babe
Cause the chemicals don’t hang around
While everybody’s drilling for a fountain of youth
Losing years on the way down

A melody can be exhausted babe
Short of friend and fame
Cause the birds they don’t sing
In the winter short of spring
And, even then, they only sing in the day

But love, it ain’t like a melody babe
Cause the birds don’t hang around
Well, everybody’s drilling for a fountain of youth
But sometimes in these fountains they drown
Sometimes in these fountains they drown

But I want to love you
When the blood of my veins
Don’t know how to call out your name
Yeah I want to love you
When the birds don’t hang around

But love it ain’t like the chemicals babe
Cause the chemicals don’t hang around
While everybody’s drilling for a fountain of youth
But sometimes in these fountains they drown

August 8, 2011


All our sins are stones
At the bottom of your oceans
And all our filthy stains
Have been washed away

By the blood of a son
I have overcome the grave
By the blood of a son
I have overcome the grave
The grave

Recompense is made for
The guilty and the shamed
For eternity is gained
In the arms of the slain

By the blood of a son
I have overcome the grave
By the blood of a son
I have overcome the grave
The grave

Oh my soul
Praise him
Oh my soul

By the blood of a son
I have overcome the grave
By the blood of a son
I have overcome the grave
The grave
Oh my soul
Praise him
Oh my soul

August 8, 2011


Who is this
The King of Glory
Who is This
The King of Glory
Who is this
The King of Glory

Open up your gates before him

Open up you doors
You everlasting doors
Open up you doors
You everlasting doors
Open up you doors
You everlasting doors
Open up your gates before him

August 8, 2011


You set us up above all the stars
You set us on a high place by where you are
While we were dead you made us your friends
And scattered our debt upon the wind

Glory to One
God’s murdered son
Who paid for my resurrection
Once from the dust, once from the grave
Daughters and sons from the ashes you’ve raised
And hidden our faults even from your own face
And scattered our debt upon the waves

Glory to one
God’s murdered son
Who paid for my resurrection
Glory to One
God’s murdered son
Who paid for my resurrection

Glory to the one who
Who overcame in death
Glory to the one
Who paid for my offenses
Glory to the one

Once from the dust
Once from the grave
Daughters and sons
From the ashes you’ve raised
And hidden our faults
Even from your own face
And scattered our debt upon the waves
And scattered our debt upon the waves

August 8, 2011


Chase me down like a lion
Like a bird of prey
Lift me up from the ashes
Of my hearts own shallow grave

Cause I know that I love you
But sometimes I’m afraid

Whoa oh…

Spare my body from the wolves, God
That crouch down at my door
Lift me up above the waters
And the sharks that guard your shore
Cause I know that I need you
But sometimes I know it more

Whoa oh…

Harbor me in the eye of the storm
I’m holding on to love you swore

August 7, 2011


Daylight comes to meet you on the road
Like a prodigal son, a prodigal hope
That you gave up on when you were young
Yeah, but daylight is coming on

We live on the edge
On the edge of a darkness oh
We live on the edge
On the edge of a darkness oh
But daylight is coming on

Heaven bends low for the naked and the poor
To settle up a debt, to settle up the score
To set up a table on the edge of a war
Cause we’ve been bleeding on the edge of a sword

We live on the edge
On the edge of a darkness oh
We live on the edge
On the edge of a darkness oh
But daylight is coming on

The boardwalk is painted red with the blood
Of a thousand prospective heroes but one
Still cries out beyond all the grave and the flood
Where the blackest abysses cannot overcome

Cause we live on the edge
On the edge of a darkness oh
We live on the edge
On the edge of a darkness oh
But daylight is coming on

August 7, 2011


I spend a lot of my time around church leaders. It’s always fun to watch how we interact with each other when we’re all together. Just picking a restaurant to have dinner at can be quite the feat because so many of us tend to be control freaks.

I think being a “control freak” is something that many church leaders struggle with. Most strong leaders have a pretty clear picture of the way they want things to go.

You know, there are few words that control freaks around the world, like me, struggle with more than “surrender.”

We like to think we can manipulate almost anything to go our way.

We like to think that given enough time and money we can make almost anything happen.

We like to think we are where we are because of what we’ve done.

Taking our hands off a circumstance and trusting someone other than ourselves seems totally counter-intuitive.

But there are few things more powerful than the act of surrender. In fact, in life, it may be the most powerful thing you can do.

Surrender can be the turning point in your life and leadership. There is life-changing, heart-shaping power when you say to Jesus, “You are God. I am not. I will trust you.”

I will trust YOU with my marriage.

I will trust YOU with my children.

I will trust YOU with my finances.

I will trust YOU with my future.

I will trust YOU with my church.

There is an unexplainable, immeasurable, transcending power that comes along with the act of surrender.

We see this even in the life of Jesus. The most powerful moment in His life was not necessarily when He made the winds and waves calm with just His spoken word. It probably wasn’t when he fed the 5,000 or even when he brought Lazarus back from the dead by simply calling out to him.

His most powerful moment, in my opinion, was in the Garden of Gethsemane when He chose to let go of any temptation to control His own fate or future and He completely surrendered saying, “Not my will, but Yours be done.”

I hope you’ll take some time to think through your life and leadership. Is there an area in your ministry that you need to surrender to Jesus today? Maybe a relationship you need to trust Him with?

There’s nothing more difficult or more rewarding. I’m praying you’ll surrender today.

August 7, 2011



The new Shane & Shane single The One You Need has been receiving a lot of buzz especially from fathers with daughters.  I think you’ll agree.

August 7, 2011

Texas Governor RICK PERRY Offers A Prayer For Obama at The Response Rally

Rick Perry

Reporting from Houston— Appearing before more than 15,000 people he summoned to a national prayer meeting, prospective Republican presidential candidate Rick Perry prayed for President Obama and asked God to keep the president’s family safe.  “Like all of you, I love this country deeply,” said Perry, greeted by a roar of approval when he took the stage at Reliant Stadium in Houston shortly before noon. “Indeed the only thing you love more is the living Christ.”  The Texas governor, expected to enter the Republican presidential race soon, said he organized the daylong prayer meeting to seek divine help in fixing problems that are beyond the ability of government to solve.


To applause, Perry gave his view of a “personal God” whose “agenda is not a political agenda. His agenda is a salvation agenda.” The governor added, with a chuckle, “He is a wise, wise God, and he’s wise enough to not be affiliated with any political party.”  Perry, who issued a proclamation earlier this year urging Texans to pray for an end to the state’s severe drought, initiated the privately financed rally. He has used the event to promote himself nationally among religious conservative voters, a powerful bloc in GOP presidential primaries.  Critics assailed the gathering as an improper mingling of church and state and attacked the prominent role given to a number of controversial evangelists.  Perry and other speakers were careful to avoid overt partisan appeals and the governor’s office said taxpayer money wasn’t used to put on the event, which was financed by the American Family Assn. of Tupelo, Miss.


Perry’s public role at the event itself was a relatively modest one.   He delivered a prayer after reading several Bible verses, including from the book of Joel, a minor prophet whom Perry cited as the inspiration for the meeting.  “Father, our heart breaks for America. We see discord at home. We see fear in the marketplace. We see anger in the halls of government and, as a nation, we have forgotten who made us, who protects us, who blesses us, and for that, we cry out for your forgiveness,” said Perry, praying with hands clasped.  “Father, we pray for our president, that you would impart your wisdom upon him, that you would guard his family,” the governor said. “You call us to repent, Lord, and this day is our response.”

August 6, 2011

PETRA Frontman JOHN SCHLITT Raises $40,000 From Fans For New Music Album THE GREATER CAUSE



Legendary recording artist and Gospel Music Hall of Famer John Schlitt, best known as the lead singer for award-winning Christian band Petra during the era when the band won four GRAMMY Awards and 10 Dove Awards, is expressing his gratitude to his fans today.

“Thank you folks! We’re ahead of schedule and are already moving into Phase Two!” Schlitt says, on the heels of meeting the initial financial goal of $35,000 for the recording of his new music project, titled The Greater Cause, through Kickstarter, a popular “crowd-funding” platform for creative projects.

“We’re experiencing tremendous momentum, and only God knows the limit,” Schlitt says.

Additional funds which come in by the deadline of noon ET on Aug. 8 will go toward the necessary expenses of packaging, manufacturing and promoting the new CD.

“Every dollar past the initial goal will help us complete the total package…not just the process of recording, which is now taken care of, but these additional funds will take us further down the line to total completion,” Schlitt continues.

Pledges are taken on Schlitt’s personal Kickstarter site ( orthegreatercause) and powered by Amazon, enabling backers’ credit cards to be charged via a secure website.

Using a system of pledges and rewards, supporters worldwide, dubbed the TGC Crew (The Greater Cause Crew), in honor of the new CD title, have partnered with Schlitt to produce the rocker’s fourth solo project.

“This Kickstarter project has opened my eyes to a whole batch of new friends; not only those who have pledged, but those who have been praying for the project and for myself,” Schlitt says. “I have a feeling that this is the beginning of a team that will be sharing in the next stage of my life.”

Throughout the Kickstarter process to meet the funding goal, Schlitt has captured the attention of his fans through a series of updates and early rewards, including a free demo download of one the first Christian songs that Schlitt ever recorded, as well as personal thank-you messages to each donor via Twitter and other social networking sites. As a bonus to pledgers, Schlitt is creating an exclusive website with a behind the scenes look at the recording of The Greater Cause, including photos, videos and a blog.

The Greater Cause will be a ‘back to the roots’ rock album, which is what my supporters have been asking for,” Schlitt says. “It is intended to be a fresh and powerful tool to accomplish what God has been doing through me for many years: connecting and encouraging people through my music. We need to use common sense in this world and awaken to the fact that Jesus is Lord, no matter what those around us may say — or do. This is my goal with The Greater Cause.”

For more information about Kickstarter or The Greater Cause, go or thegreatercause.

August 6, 2011

Third Annual Rock & Worship Roadshow 2011 continues with star-studded lineup MercyMe, Jars Of Clay, Hawk Nelson


“The Rock and Worship Roadshow” will venture into their second leg of the tour hitting 12 markets this November with a stellar cast including MercyMe, Jars of Clay, Disciple, Hawk Nelson, Matt Maher, and Group 1 Crew. Talented rapper Trip Lee along with other artists will serve as the pre-show entertainment. This will mark the first time “The Rock and Worship Roadshow” will tour in the fall in addition to their annual spring trek.

Admission prices will be the traditional $10 at-the-door, making it an affordable event for the whole family. Compassion International will once again serve as a tour sponsor. Compassion International is a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults. For more information on Compassion International go to

Kicking off Nov. 4 in Grand Rapids, MI, the tour will stop in cities such as Cleveland, OH; Atlanta, GA; Columbia, SC; Oklahoma City, OK; and Kansas City, MO, before wrapping on Nov. 20 in Memphis, TN.

See full list of markets are listed below, but stay tuned for the latest tour information.

August 6, 2011

VeggieTales creator Phil Vischer and his new company, Jellyfish Labs, ink distribution deal with EMI CMG



What’s in the distribution deal? A new relationship, according toVeggieTales’ Creator and Jellyfish Labs Founder Phil Vischer and Bill Hearn, President and CEO of EMI Christian Music Group (EMI CMG) who have announced a long-term distribution agreement for Vischer’s Jellyfish Labs and its “Buck Denver Asks…What’s in the Bible?” DVD series.

EMI CMG Distribution will assume distribution rights for the DVD series, forthcoming ancillary products and the music products created by Jellyfish Labs for the Christian retail marketplace in the U.S. and Canada, as well as the digital domain, including iTunes and This fall, EMI CMG will re-launch five DVDs and release a new music CD and new DVD.

“I’m excited that Jellyfish Labs and our Buck Denver Asks…What’s in the Bible? DVD series has found a new home at EMI CMG Distribution,” said Vischer, who, before embarking on his latest venture, created VeggieTales. “I’ve always appreciated Bill Hearn and his team; their commitment to excellence and innovation make them great partners as we work to enhance the spiritual journeys of families everywhere through creative children’s products.”

“EMI CMG has worked with Phil on past VeggieTales music and feature films projects, making it a genuine fit for us to work together on his newest venture, Jellyfish Labs and the What’s in the Bible? DVD series,” said Hearn. “Families need What’s in the Bible more now than ever before. What better way to share the good news of the Gospel than this creative DVD series that is fun and informative for the whole family.”

Vischer and his Jellyfish team first launched the What’s in the Bible? series in early 2010. Vischer set out to teach children “the story of the Bible – about God’s great rescue plan and how stories like those of Moses, Noah, David, and Jesus fit together to tell one big, redemptive story.” Vischer’s signature wit shines through with his all-new cast of characters, fast-paced flash animation, puppetry and catchy tunes.

Each DVD contains two 25-minute episodes filled with original music, animation, puppets and creative storytelling. Hosted by the suave news anchor (and puppet) Buck Denver (voiced by Vischer), the series introduces unforgettable new characters including Sunday School Lady; brothers/archeologists Clive & Ian; pastor, teacher and gospel singer Brother Louie; and Captain Pete the church history-loving pirate. For the first time, Vischer also appears in the series. Vischer has written and voiced all but one of the characters in the series along with most of the original music.

Jellyfish Labs and EMI CMG will re-launch the first five DVDs in the DVD series in September 2011. The five DVDs will be repackaged and will include newly created family study guides as well as a digital copy for fans to place on their computers and mobile devices. The DVDs, which will be at retail on Sept. 27, include:

  • Buck Denver Asks…What’s in the Bible? Vol. 1 In the Beginning
  • Buck Denver Asks…What’s in the Bible? Vol. 2 Let My People Go
  • Buck Denver Asks…What’s in the Bible? Vol. 3 Wanderin’ in the Desert
  • Buck Denver Asks…What’s in the Bible? Vol. 4 Battle for the Promised Land
  • Buck Denver Asks…What’s in the Bible? Vol. 5 Israel Gets a King

Also on Sept. 27, the first Buck Denver Asks…What’s in the Bible? – The Songs! music CD also releases through EMI CMG and features 18 favorite songs from the first five DVDs.

The following month, on Oct. 18, two brand new DVDs will debut, including the next installment in the series and a special holiday episode:

  • Buck Denver Asks…What’s In the Bible? Vol. 6 Kings & Chronicles – A Nation Divided
  • Buck Denver Asks… Why Do We Call It Christmas?

“Breaking new brands is difficult work these days and breaking new children’s brands would be considered treacherous! Such work requires great partnerships and a willingness to innovate, experiment and take some risks. EMI CMG is one of the few companies in the Christian marketplace that’s positioned for this kind of challenge. We’re delighted to have them as a partner in our efforts to help families better understand God’s word and raise up the next generation of Christians,” said Erick Goss, managing partner Creative Trust Media/Jellyfish Labs.

A testament to Vischer’s ability to create products that resonate with families, Buck Denver Asks…What’s in the Bible? was the best-selling new children’s DVD series at Christian retail in the past year and has sold almost 175,000 units.

Greg Bays, SVP of sales and marketing for EMI CMG Distribution, says: “It is exciting to watch Phil Vischer use his creative genius and theological expertise to develop brand new characters and stories for our families to treasure. For EMI CMG Distribution, it is our job to ensure that these new DVDs and the music CD penetrate the marketplace so that they might impact children and their families for years to come. Our team is honored and humbled, and we take our stewardship of Phil’s vision very seriously.”

August 5, 2011




August 5, 2011


In this week’s edition of Cool Song Friday I present to you the first single off Phil Wickham’s new record RESPONSE, called “AT YOUR NAME.”  I’m a huge Phil Wickham fan and am already loving this song.  Below is a youtube video where you can listen to it for yourself.

August 4, 2011



blake head shot.jpg


Blake Mycoskie is releasing a new book START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS IN September 2011.  According to the official press release:

The incredible story of the man behind TOMS and One for One ™, the revolutionary business model that matches social good with sales. Blake Mycoskie never made a pair of shoes, attended fashion school, or worked in retail but he created one of the most iconic companies in the world by giving new shoes to children in need.

This is a book that will make you think differently about the work you do, the products you buy, and the difference one person can make. Blake Mycoskie is the founder of TOMS, and in his first book, he offers his own amazing story of success, inspiration, and the power of one idea: to provide new shoes to children in need.

Blake became interested in creating a for-profit business that at its center could support a sustainable way of giving that would address ongoing needs worldwide. It all started several years ago, when after selling his fourth start-up, Blake visited Argentina, and was shocked to see the number of children unable to afford shoes. This simple fact changed his life forever. He leftArgentina determined to return and hand deliver thousands of new shoes to these children, protecting them from potential diseases, providing access to education, or allowing them to walk to collect clean drinking water—all basic needs that most of us take for granted. Shortly after that trip, Blake created TOMS, which began with shoes and recently launched a second product, eyewear, to address another global need: vision.

In START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS, Blake addresses the following:

  • What matters most to people?
  • Should one focus on earning a living, pursuing passions, or devoting oneself to the causes that inspire?
  • The surprising truth is that one doesn’t have to choose—and that people might find more success if they don’t.
  • How to work through fear and failure and how other entrepreneurs have done the same.
  • Important lessons from Zappos, charity: water, FEED Projects, and TerraCycle, among many other incredible organizations.
  • One doesn’t have to be rich to give back.
  • One doesn’t have to retire to spend every day doing what you love.
  • One can find profit, passion, and meaning all at once.


START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS shows the evolution of a company that started out modestly in a small Los Angelesapartment and then went on to become a global movement — one of the fastest growing companies in the world. Praised by Bill Clinton as “one of the most interesting entrepreneurs [he’d] ever met,” Blake lives on a sailboat in Los Angeles, and holds the title of Chief Shoe Giver. In this new memoir, he shares his transformation from a “regular business guy,” motivated primarily by profit, into one of the emerging leaders in Conscious Capitalism. Blake also presents the six simple keys to creating and transforming one’s life and business, from discovering one’s core story to being resourceful without resources; from overcoming fear and doubt to incorporating giving into every aspect of a person’s life.

Blake’s philosophy offers a new way of thinking about success, defined by creating work that simultaneously fulfills our hunger for material success, philanthropic impact, and personal meaning. Blake’s story will inspire a wide range of people: youth just beginning their careers and hoping to make a difference; those who want to change careers to something more meaningful; and leaders who want to take on the challenges of changing the world of business to make it a culture that is passionate, creative and ultimately capable of making the world a better place.

In keeping with the TOMS One for One ™ philosophy, with every copy of START SOMETHING THAT MATTERS purchased, TOMS will provide a new book to a child in need. One for One. TOMS will give new books through the innovative non-profit First Book ( to children in the United States.

Learn more about this exciting project at


Start Something That Matters


August 4, 2011

Bestselling Authors Bodie & Brock Thoene Sign Four-Book Deal With Zondervan




Zondervan announced it signed award-winning and bestselling authors Bodie and Brock Thoene to a four-book contract with the first title, Beyond the Farthest Star, to release December 2011.

Beyond the Farthest Star is a novel based on the major motion picture screenplay by Andrew Librizzi with the film (Pathlight Entertainment) anticipated to release nationwide in time for the holidays. The emotionally compelling novel tells the tale of a father desperate to reconnect with his daughter and regain the love of his wife. In it, he discovers that reconciliation and trust begin, not with words, but with the revelation of the heart.

“Beyond the Farthest Star is a powerful story with gripping characters and fascinating twists and turns,” said Bodie and Brock Thoene. “We are excited and proud to be partnering with the dynamic Zondervan publishing team as this film and novel come to life.”

After the release of Beyond the Farthest Star, the Thoenes will begin their most powerful and climactic writing project ever with a new historical fiction series titled “A.D. Scrolls.” The series begins with the first book, releasing in October 2012, which focuses on those who followed Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday and continues on with a new release each year which will take readers through the Last Supper, the Crucifixion, Resurrection and on into the first tumultuous days of the Church.

“Bodie and Brock Thoene are a wonderful addition to the Zondervan family of fiction,  quo; said Sue Brower, executive editor for Zondervan. “I have wanted to work with these legends in Christian fiction for a long time and am thrilled that the opportunity has finally come.”

Bodie and Brock Thoene have written more than 65 works of historical fiction with more than 25 million of these bestselling novels in print. They have won eight ECPA Gold Medallion Awards affirming what millions of readers have already discovered—the Thoenes are not only master stylists but experts at capturing readers’ minds and hearts.



August 4, 2011

Worship Artist JOHN WALLER Has A New Baby Born And Loses His Mother In The Same Week

John Waller  

This has been a week of extreme highs and lows for singer/songwriter and recording artist John Waller.

On Thursday, July 28, son Josiah Emmanuel Waller was born to Waller and his wife, Josee. On Friday, July 29, Waller’s mother, Joyce Scarbrough Waller, died of a heart attack. She is survived by her husband, four children, and 16 grandchildren.

“It’s in moments like these when you realize how deeply God loves you,” says Waller. “I am so overjoyed by the birth of my son and so very grieved by the unexpected loss of my mother. She was young. I so wanted and expected her to be holding her grandson now. Instead, she is being held by her loving Savior. Thank you for your prayers, especially for my precious father.”

A funeral service was held yesterday at the First Baptist Church of Jonesboro Worship Center with John Waller and Dr. Mel Blackaby officiating.

Our prayers and thoughts go out to John and his family during this difficult time.

August 4, 2011


I’ve shared elsewhere on this blog that I’m a huge PRISON BREAK fan, I thought the first half of the first season was the worst but then after that it just got better.  Well in case there are any other Break fans reading this, let me ask you:  Do you remember this kid in the picture on the right who appeared in about 4 or 5 episodes?  Teabag’s little lap dog?  Remember how’s his time on the show ended?  Well I just found out a few days ago that this kid actually has a name and it’s Blaine Hogan and . . . he’s on staff at Willow Creek Community Church in Chicago.  How crazy is that?  Apparently he serves as a Creative Producer at Willow overseeing stuff like multimedia, and performance art.  Not too shabby.


He’s also a blogger over at and he just released a new book called “UNTITLED: Thoughts On The Creative Process,” but the book is only available in kindle version.  I don’t know about you but I think that’s pretty cool, only thing is I wish he didn’t play such an unflattering, victimized character.

August 3, 2011

SWITCHFOOT Celebrates Completion of New Album VICE VERSES With Band Listening Session (VIDEO)

The band members of Switchfoot celebrated the completion of their new 2011 record VICE VERSES, recently with the band’s first listening session of the entire finished album.  The new album is scheduled to drop on September 27th.

The Track List For The New Album Is As Follows:

  1. Afterlife (3:37)
  2. The Original (3:15)
  3. The War Inside (3:39)
  4. Restless (5:18)
  5. Blinding Light (4:17)
  6. Selling the News (3:35)
  7. Thrive (5:12)
  8. Dark Horses (3:54)
  9. Souvenirs (4:15)
  10. Rise Above It (3:33)
  11. Vice Verses (5:08)
  12. Where I Belong (6:53)

Below is a video of the band’s first full listening session.  Pretty cool video.


August 2, 2011

HEAVEN IS FOR REAL Book Is Publishing Phenomenon



Just two months shy of his fourth birthday, Colton Burpo, the son of an evangelical pastor in Imperial, Neb., was rushed into emergency surgery with a burst appendix.

He woke up with an astonishing story: He had died and gone to heaven, where he met his great-grandfather; the biblical figure Samson; John the Baptist; and Jesus, who had eyes that “were just sort of a sea-blue and they seemed to sparkle,” Colton, now 11 years old, recalled.

Colton’s father, Todd, has turned the boy’s experience into a 163-page book, “Heaven Is for Real,” which has become a sleeper paperback hit of the winter, dominating best-seller lists and selling hundreds of thousands of copies.

Thomas Nelson, the book’s publisher, said it had broken company sales records. The publisher, based in Nashville, began with an initial print run of 40,000 copies. Since the book came out in November, it has gone back to press 22 times, with more than 1.5 million copies in print. On the New York Times best-seller list for paperback nonfiction last Sunday, “Heaven Is for Real” was No. 1. The book remains in the top spot this coming Sunday.

Much of the book’s success has been fueled by word of mouth, since it did not begin with the usual best-seller channels: there has been no elaborate book tour, big-name publisher or brand-name author. But it has gained traction with a few well-placed appearances on the morning show “Fox & Friends,” “The 700 Club” and CNN.

The book has sold just as strongly in national chain bookstores like Barnes & Noble as it has in Christian specialty shops, said Matt Baugher, the vice president and publisher of Thomas Nelson. Mass merchants like Wal-Mart have pushed the book heavily in their stores, and large orders from churches and ministry groups are growing steadily.

“We all are perhaps desperate to know what is on the other side of the veil after we die,” Mr. Baugher said, adding that his initial skepticism about the Burpo family’s story was short-lived. “This was a very down-to-earth, conservative, quote-unquote normal Midwestern family. We became fully convinced that this story was valid. And also that it was a great story that would just take off.”

The book was an instant hit in Barnes & Noble outlets and was near the top of the best-seller list on its The chain’s religion buyer was an early advocate for the book, ordering copies for every store, said Patricia Bostelman, the vice president for marketing at Barnes & Noble.

“When you buy the religion subject, you are presented with many stories about heaven, personal experiences about near-death and the afterlife,” Ms. Bostelman said, noting that several other books with “heaven” in the title have sold well recently. “But what was unusual about this book was that it was the story of a little boy. It deactivated some of the cynicism that can go along with adults capitalizing on their experiences.”

Todd Burpo wrote the book with Lynn Vincent, who collaborated with Sarah Palin on “Going Rogue.” Mr. Burpo, the pastor of Crossroads Wesleyan Church in Imperial, a farming community in southwest Nebraska, said in an interview that he had shouldered some criticism over it.

“People say we just did this to make money, and it’s not the truth,” Mr. Burpo said, referring to anonymous online comments about the book. “We were expecting nothing. We were just hoping the publisher would break even.” (He said he planned to give away much of the royalty income and spend some of it on home improvements.)

At first, he and his wife, Sonja, were not sure if they could believe their son’s story, which came out slowly, months and years after his sudden illness and operation in 2003. The details persuaded them, Mr. Burpo said. Colton told his parents that he had met his younger sister in heaven, describing her as a dark-haired girl who resembled his older sister, Cassie. When the Burpos questioned him, he asked his mother, “You had a baby die in your tummy, didn’t you?” While his wife had suffered a miscarriage years before, Mr. Burpo said, they had not told Colton about it. “There’s just no way he could have known,” Mr. Burpo said.

And the Burpos said that Colton painstakingly described images that he said he saw in heaven — like the bloody wounds on Jesus’ palms — that he had not been shown before.

Eventually the Burpos decided to tell their story beyond their town. Mr. Burpo, in his Sunday sermons, had already introduced some anecdotes to his congregation. Through a pastor friend, they met Joel Kneedler, an agent with Alive Communications, a Christian literary agency in Colorado Springs. Mr. Kneedler sold the book to Thomas Nelson, a publisher known for Christian titles like “40 Days With Jesus” by Sarah Young. The advance was in the low five figures.

The book’s list price is $16.99, but that is discounted to $9.34 on

At the outlets of Barbara’s Bookstore, an independent chain mostly in the Chicago area, the book is No. 1 on the store’s nonfiction best-seller list. Interest in it began to perk up around mid-February, said Greg Sato, a store manager.

“Of the nonfiction books lately that seems to be the one that people are asking about the most,” Mr. Sato said. “I have pegged it in the same vein as ‘The Five People You Meet in Heaven’ or ‘The Shack.’ Like an Oprah book, but a little more religious or spiritual.”

Colton, who appears as a blond, round-faced little boy on the cover of the book, now plays the piano and trumpet, is fascinated by Greek mythology, listens to Christian rock and loves Nebraska football.

Telling his story matter-of-factly, Colton said he was pleased that people were finding the story inspirational.

“People are getting blessed, and they’re going to have healing from their hurts,” he said. “I’m happy for that.”

August 2, 2011

HILLSONG UNITED’S Joel Houston Robbed At Gun Point Loses 200 Songs


Joel Houston, lead singer of Hillsong United was robbed at gunpoint in New York city a few days ago.  “Robbed at gunpoint tonight… thank you brooklyn… lost my phone.. spent the night with NY’s finest…”  Houston tweeted.  According to Houston 3 of his other friends who were with him were robbed too including songwriter Matt Crocker.


It got even worse since Houston had 200 songs on his phone he wanted to keep.  “seriously.. for real” Joel added later, “.. at gunpoint… tried reasoning with him.. only cause i had 200 song idea on my voice memos i didnt wanna lose…”


Not to worry though, Houston and his friends were just happy no one got seriously hurt.  Writing, “spent the night with NY’s finest.. never laughed harder in my life…”

Glad to hear no one was hurt.  So sad to hear about those many songs being lost though.