Archive for October, 2011

October 31, 2011

DONALD MILLER Guest Post: Update on Blue Like Jazz the Movie



It was just about a year ago we started filming Blue Like Jazz the movie, and since then we’ve been feverishly editing the film, adding a soundtrack and test screening the film.

At first, the movie ran for nearly two hours, but not we’ve got it down to 97 minutes and the movie, in my “objective” opinion, is singing. Seriously, it’s getting great reviews, and this is without color correction or sound editing, two factors that take a movie over the top.

So far, we are getting about 45% of the audiences saying the movie was excellent, about 49% saying it’s “very good” and the rest liked it a little less. Out of the thousands who have screened it so far, only 6 people rated the movie as “poor.” Of course, that’s going to happen no matter what we do, but we are still making the movie even stronger and by the time it hits theaters I think people are going to be pleasantly surprised.

The number one comment we get when we screen the film is “finally.” And by that they mean “finally a film that talks about faith that feels normal, not preachy, not heavy on agenda but heavy on meaning, cinematically beautiful and disarmingly honest.” Those are all from the notes we’ve received on our surveys.

As many of you know, this movie was funded by nearly 4500 backers on a website called Kickstarter. Since then, other investors have joined us and are still joining us on a much larger scale to get this movie released in theaters. That said, amazingly, our director, Steve Taylor has called more than 3000 of the backers and thanked them personally, and intends to call each of you before the film hits theaters. I’ve called hundreds myself and every conversation gives me the same sense of gratitude that we had when we first started filming. This movie was truly made with passion and creativity and mostly love.

If all goes according to plan, the movie will release on April 13 of 2012.










October 29, 2011




Third Day has been nominated for a 2011 American Music Award®, as announced today at the J.W. Marriott Los Angeles L.A. LIVE. This is the band’s fourth career nomination, winning in 2008 for its album Revelation.

For the fifth year, winners will be determined by online voting from now through Friday, Nov. 11, 2011. Fans can vote at the Coca-Cola AMA voting website,, as well as Artists will be honored in the categories of Pop/Rock, Country, Rap/Hip-Hop, Soul/R&B, Alternative, Adult Contemporary, Latin, and Contemporary Inspirational.

The live broadcast of the 39th annual AMAs will take place at the NOKIA Theatre L.A. LIVE on Sunday, Nov. 20 (8:00-11:00 p.m. ET/PT) on ABC. For a complete list of nominees, presenters, and performers, visit:

About Third Day:
Over the past decade, Atlanta-based, multi-Platinum rock band Third Day (made up of members Mac Powell, Tai Anderson, David Carr and Mark Lee) has racked up 27 No. 1 radio singles and sold more than seven million albums, including two RIAA Platinum as well as eight Gold certifications. A recent Georgia Music Hall of Fame inductee (2009), Third Day has garnered 24 career GMA Dove Awards from 42 nominations, 4 GRAMMY Awards (with 11 career nominations), an American Music Award (with 3 American Music Award nominations) and multiple ASCAP honors for songwriting. As a credit to its songwriting, Third Day’s memorable “Call My Name,” off its Revelation project, was selected by country star Keith Urban as a bonus track on his Defying Gravity album.

As a top-ranked touring band, according to Pollstar magazine, Third Day has played for audiences reaching into the millions. Because of its mass appeal, Third Day has been featured by top media outlets including “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” (NBC), “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” (CBS), “60 Minutes” (CBS), ABC’s “Nightline,” USA Today, the New York Times, and even graced the cover of Billboard magazine, which called Third Day “one of the best rock bands.”

For more information on Third Day, please visit: or

October 28, 2011


John Waller, the popular recording artist who touched the world with his song “While I’m Waiting” from the hit film Fireproof, recently appeared on TBN’s Praise The Lord with host Russ Taff where Waller shared the behind-the-scene details of his latest song, “Heaven Just Got Better.”

During the interview with Taff, Waller discussed the recent birth of his son, Josiah Emmanuel, and the death of his mother less than 24 hours later. Waller also performed songs from his current CD, As For Me And My House, as well as debuting “Heaven Just Got Better.”

“I wrote ‘Heaven Just Got Better’ a couple of years ago, but never did anything with the song,” says Waller. “After my mother’s death, I went back to the song and finished it as a tribute to my mom. It was as if God was holding the song for just this time,” he adds.

“I never thought a perfect place like Heaven could get any better,” he says. “Now I know it is.”

As the segment ended, Waller said prayers over the studio audience, as well as the TV viewers, using Jewish blessings from the Old Testament, including the Aaronic Benediction from Numbers 6:22-27.

“It was truly an honor to be interviewed by the legendary Russ Taff. He was one of my favorite singers growing up,” Waller says of his experience at the show. “It was particularly special to sing ‘Heaven Just Got Better’ for the first time,” he adds.

About John Waller:
Waller first captured the attention of the Christian music community as frontman for the pop band According to John. His major label debut, The Blessing, included the powerful title track, “While I’m Waiting,” the theme song from Fireproof, the No. 1 independent film of 2008. Waller has long been known for injecting heavy doses of scripture into his songs, and his current CD As For Me And My House is no exception. He draws on Joshua 24:15 to boldly proclaim the Word of God to this generation through a rich variety of musical styles.

The title track, offered as a free download to those who sign the Joshua 24:15 Declaration for restoring our focus back to family values at Waller’s website, highlights the album’s theme of declaring our allegiance to God. The music video version of “As For Me and My House” has more than 190,000 views on YouTube so far. To sign the Declaration and to view the video, visit

Waller’s As For Me and My House is available through City of Peace Media and Provident Distribution. For more information on Waller and As For Me and My House, visit or

October 27, 2011


October 26, 2011

HILLSONG LIVE Preparing For The Live Album Recording For Their 2012 Album TOGETHER AS ONE This Sunday Night In Australia (PICTURES)

As I reported here a few days ago, the Hillsong Live team, along with all their superstars, are hard at work preparing for Sunday night’s live album recording for their 2012 album TOGETHER AS ONE. The live recording will taking place this Sunday, October 30, 2011.  And in an attempt to check in on rehearsals that are going on full steam this week, I’ve had to keep tabs on a number of the Hillsong team’s twitter accounts.  The great news is I was not disappointed.  Many of the different well-known worship leaders and songwriters like Reuben Morgan and Ben Fielding and so on, have all posted various pictures.  Here they are.

@DavidjandrewDavid Andrew
Wednesday night dress rehearsal for

@Stian_KStian Kjellstadli
Team Night at #hillscampuspreparing for #togetherasone this Sunday 4pm Allphones

@Ben_FieldingBen Fielding
Choir rehearsal.. Sounds absolutely amazing!

@AranPuddleAran Puddle
#togetherasone worship night is going to God glorifying and all time! Get here if u can or pray and worship with

#togetherasone If you only knew what is in store you would do EVERYTHING you could to be there Sunday

@hillsongliveHillsong LIVE
Four days to go! —Our team in rehearsals –>

@reuben_morganReuben Morgan
Getting ready for this – draft

Below Is The Live Album Recording Video Promo.


October 26, 2011



NASHVILLE, Tenn.— The Winter Jam Tour Spectacular, Christian music’s largest annual tour and Pollstar’s #1 tour in attendance for the first quarter of this year, announced its highly anticipated 2012 artist and city line-up during a special launch event held earlier this evening in Nashville.

Founded and hosted by Grammy®-nominated Christian music mainstay NewSong (pictured at right) and produced by Premier Productions, the Winter Jam 2012 Tour Spectacular will be headlined by Grammy®-nominated alternative rockers Skillet. The 47-city tour will also featureSanctus Real, former Newsboys frontman Peter FurlerKari JobeBuilding 429Group 1 Crew, illusionist Brock Gill, and national speakerNick Hall. In addition, the OneVerse Pre-Jam Party will include performances from Dara MacleanFor King & Country, and We As Human.VeggieTales’ Bob and Larry will also make a special appearance.

Kicking off its 17th year January 6 at the Charleston Civic Center in Charleston, West Virginia, the tour is slated to stop at Philips Arena in Atlanta; Dallas’ American Airlines Center; the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tennessee; the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Missouri; Charlotte, North Carolina’s Time Warner Cable Arena; the Verizon Arena in Little Rock, Arkansas; and the AT&T Center in San Antonio, Texas, among other leading venues, before concluding April 1 at Van Andel Arena in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Winter Jam admission is $10 at the door, with no ticket required.

“With one of the most powerful line-ups of Christian music’s top artists in Winter Jam history, we are thrilled to announce what promises to be our biggest tour yet,” said NewSong founding member and Winter Jam creator Eddie Carswell. “After seeing more than 90,000 people make decisions for Christ during last year’s tour, we enter Winter Jam’s 17th year of ministry excited to begin the adventure of what God has in store for us—and audiences around the country.”

Presented by Holt International, additional Winter Jam 2012 Tour Spectacular sponsors include the University of Mobile, The Creation Museum, OneVerse, Wayne E. Bailey Produce, Texas TransEastern, Premier Christian Cruises, Xtreme Conferences, and Camp Electric.

Additionally, 2012 marks the continuation of the popular Jam Nation fan program, which will offer individual and group memberships guaranteeing free and early concert admission. Members also receive a limited-edition Jam Nation t-shirt, a collectible Jam Nation Platinum Access Pass, and can participate in a Jam Nation Q&A with select tour artists, among numerous other exclusive benefits.

Since its formation by NewSong in 1995, Winter Jam has featured many of the top names in Christian music, including TobyMac, Third Day, Newsboys, Steven Curtis Chapman, and Jeremy Camp, among others. The Winter Jam 2011 Tour Spectacular outpaced attendance for all other tours in the first quarter, including Bon Jovi, U2, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber, according to Pollstar’s 2011 Worldwide First Quarter Ticket Sales “Top 100 Tours” chart. In addition, for the first time in its history, the tour will hit 11 cities in the western United States this fall.

Celebrating 30 years in Christian music, NewSong has recorded 17 albums, garnering 20 #1 Christian radio singles and a Grammy® Award nomination, in addition to being inducted into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, among numerous other achievements. The band’s now-classic 2001 ballad, “The Christmas Shoes,” was a #1 hit at mainstream AC radio and inspired the best-selling novel and top-rated CBS television movie of the same name. NewSong’s latest recording, One True God, debuted at #1 on Billboard’s Top Christian/Gospel Albums chart earlier this year. The project features the new single, “The Same God.” For further information on NewSong, visit

With RIAA Gold certification, current scans easily surpassing 800,000 units, non-stop mainstream and Christian market touring, and RIAA Gold certification for each of their three hit Active Rock and Christian Rock singles, two-time Grammy® nominated alternative rockers’ Skillets’ latest, Awake has cemented the band as a top rock act in both the Christian and mainstream markets. Awake hit the ground running debuting at No. 2 on Billboard’s Top 200, selling over 67,000 units and peaking at No. 1 on iTunes® overall “Top Albums” chart and “Top Rock” chart. After two years, the album remains on the Billboard Top 200 with only a handful of other mainstream acts claiming the same honor.

With massive sales has come radio, awards and tour success, as Awake boasts four Active Rock radio hits with “Monster,” which was also AOL Music’s No. 4 “Mainstream Rock Song of 2009,” the No. 1 Christian CHR & Rock single “Hero,” which has been used by the NFL in their Sunday Night Football and NFL Weekend Kickoff promos, and their latest No. 1 mainstream hit “Awake & Alive,” a remix of which is featured on the TRANSFORMERS: Dark of the Moon soundtrack. And while Skillet’s intensely explosive live show consistently ranks within Pollstar’s Concert Pulse “Top 50 Tours,” the band also received the 2011 Billboard Music Award for “Top Christian Album,” and was Billboard’s No. 2 “Top Christian Album” and No. 9 “Top Alternative Album” in 2010. For further information on Skillet, visit

A complete list of Winter Jam 2012 Tour Spectacular dates and cities can be found at

October 25, 2011



Uber acclaimed worship leader and songwriter, Matt Redman, took to twitter a few days ago to share what he referred to as “Tips For Creativity.” I thought the tips were brilliant.  There are 5 tips in total.  While most of them refer to song-writing, they can be applied to other creative arts too.


Tips for creativity, no.1 – “Imagination is like a muscle. It grows stronger when you flex it.” – John Piper

Tips for creativity, no.2 – “You can have 1,000 ideas, but unless you capture an emotion, it’s an essay.” – Bono, U2.

Tips for creativity, no.3 – “I have principles, not a formula.” -Director James Cameron describing his movie-making approach.

Tips for creativity, no.4 – “An unending curiosity for doing something different.” – Producer Sir George Martin on The Beatle’s approach to artistry.

Tips for creativity, no.5 “When a person speaks or writes or sings or paints about breathtaking truth in a boring way, it is probably a sin.” – John Piper

October 25, 2011

KUTLESS Set To Release Christmas Album Called THIS CHRISTMAS


BEC Recordings’ Kutless is wrapping up another great year with the release of their first Christmas project on October 4 titled This Is Christmas. This album is filled with four classic holiday songs along with two original Kutless Christmas tunes (“This Is Christmas,” “Beautiful”).  There will also be a 10-song exclusive version available at Wal-Mart this season.  Kutless will also be touring heavily this fall as part of the “One True God,” Winter Jam and the “Very Merry Christmas” tours.

“The Christmas season is one of my favorite times of the year,” shares Kutless frontman Jon Micah Sumrall. “It is a special time for us to enjoy family, festivities, and gift giving but most importantly to remember the birth of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  My hope is that This is Christmas will be an encouraging and festive reminder of why we celebrate Christmas. Truly Jesus is the reason for the season.”

Since the 2009 release of their hit worship album, It Is Well, BEC Recordings’ Kutless has catapulted to the top of the radio charts with their mega-hit song “What Faith Can Do,” which spent multiple weeks at No. 1 on AC, CHR and National Christian Audience charts. The second single, “Everything I Need,” also became a top 10 single at AC Indicator, Monitored and National Christian Audience charts. The current single “Amazed” is already a top 20 single at AC Indicator, CHR, and Inspo charts.

The band will be following-up to this highly acclaimed album that has sold more than 300,000 units with a brand new 2012 studio release.  Kutless is putting the finishing touches on this new project with producers Chris Stevens (TobyMac, Mandisa, Carrie Underwood) and Dave Lubben (worship leader, Kutless).

For more information, go to or the band’s official YouTube Page  Follow the band on Twitter @kutless and become their fan on Facebook:

This Is Christmas Track listing
1. O Holy Night
2. This Is Christmas
3. Breath Of Heaven
4. Mary Did You Know
5. Beautiful
6. It Came Upon A Midnight Clear




October 22, 2011

Would You Like To Help Me Create 20-Minute Pilot For A Christian-Produced Sitcom?

I love sitcoms.  Seinfeld, Friends, Everybody Loves Raymond, Frasier, King of Queens—newer ones like Til Death etc. you name it, I love them all.  And I’ve been having this cool desire to create a sitcom that will be done by Christians, it won’t be a “Christian sitcom” it will be a normal sitcom that is family-friendly and free from so much of Hollywood’s propaganda stuff that permeates so much of sitcoms nowadays. The format as this stage is an open book (meaning undecided), I can create a sitcom episode with 4 friends, married couples whatever.  All that matters is that it will be hilarious.

But before we can raise more money from friends to do maybe 4 episodes later, for now I will need to do a 20-minute first episode that will be a called a pilot.  We’ll then show the pilot to people and ask them to help us to create more episodes.

But to create a pilot we’ll need a few things:

1.  We’ll need to hire a production company for maybe 3 days to a week, to film it for us (this will cost about $10,000)

2.  We’ll need to rent a studio

3.  Build sets

4.  Hire actors

5.  Feed the actors and crew

6.  Hire hair and make-up people

7.  We’ll need to hire an editor to do post-production

All these things would cost money, but if we can get like say 500 -1,000 people who say, “I would love to see this come to life, count me in. I can kick in $20,” then we could do it.

If this is something you’d be interested in getting on bored with drop me a line and once we have 500 – 1,000 people who say they’d love to kick in $20 one time then we’ll do it.  And it can easily be done by April 2012.

How Joining In Will Work:

If you email me and say, “count me in,” we’ll wait till the number of supporters has grown to more than 500 people.  And once we have more than 500 people (this could easily take like 3-4 months to achieve).  I will send out an email to all the supporters saying, “we’ve reached our required number, you can now go to our website to donate.  thanks.” Then you donate it, and we’ll do it.

You could come visit us on set, maybe even be in it as a minor actor or background etc. we could possibly also host a viewing party of all our supporters once its finished.  And you can be in the live audience the night we film it.

October 22, 2011


Image of Kevin DeYoung


Mormonism is back in the news. And with two Mormon presidential candidates, including Mitt Romney (the front runner for the Republican nomination), there’s a good chance we will be hearing much more about Mormonism for the next twelve months. Denny Burk has a very helpful piece on whether Mormonism is a cult [1], and Albert Mohler has written a thoughtful article on “Mormonism, Democracy, and the Urgent Need for Evangelical Thinking.” [2] I won’t repeat their arguments, except to reiterate Mohler’s reminder that voting for a president should include examining the candidate’s religious beliefs, but should include other considerations as well.

Presidential elections are important. But believing the truth is even more important. With that in mind, I thought it might be helpful to provide a brief overview of Mormon history and theology. I won’t try to debunk Mormonism or prove Christianity. But I hope this quick survey will show that the two are not the same.

A quick note on secondary sources: Christian materials do not always treat Mormonism fairly or go the extra mile to present Mormon ideas as a Mormon would recognize it. One book that does is Andrew Jackson’s Mormonism Explained: What Latter-day Saints Teach and Practice [3]. I also recommend A Different Jesus? The Christ of the Latter-Day Saints [4] by BYU professor Robert Millet. Richard Mouw concedes too much in his Foreword and Afterword, but it’s still helpful to get Mormon Christology from a Mormon himself.

Mormon History

Joseph Smith was born in rural Vermont in 1805, the fourth of nine children. With little success farming in Vermont, the Smith family moved west to Palmyra, New York.  There Joseph Smith was exposed to different revival movements, and most of his family became Presbyterians, though Smith later said he leaned toward Methodism.

The presence of so many variations of Christianity bothered Smith. Which one was right? How could he choose?  At one revival meetings, a preacher quoted from James 1:5 “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him” (KJV).  Smith, 14 years old at the time, went home, reflected on these words, and went into the woods to pray.

According to Mormon tradition, this is when Joseph Smith had his first vision. In this visions, which is foundational to the Mormon faith, Smith claimed to see two “personages.” The one-God the Father-pointed to the other and said “This is My Beloved Son.  Hear Him!”  Smith asked them what sect he should join.  They answered that he should join none of them.  They were all wrong.  All their creeds were an abomination and their believers corrupt.

Three years later, Mormons believe Smith received another vision. In this vision the angel Moroni told Smith of golden plates buried under a hill near Palmyra.  The plates were revealed in 1827 when Smith was provided with two reading crystals–urim and thummim–by which he could translate the writing (Smith claimed the plates were written in hieroglyphics).  In 1830 Smith published The Book of Mormon, which contains the story of the lost Israelites who migrated to America in the sixth century BC but were killed in battle in AD 428.  Smith later received another vision from John the Baptist giving him the Aaronic Priesthood.

That same year (1830) Smith founded the “Church of Christ.”  In 1838 he changed the name to “The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.”

Smith continued to receive revelations telling him to move from New York to Ohio to Missouri and eventually to Illinois where he and his followers built a town called Nauvoo.  There Smith and his followers tried to live out an utopian vision of society.  They also instituted polygyny as early Mormon leaders argued that Jesus had had many wives.  Smith and his brother were arrested in 1844. Later a mob stormed the jail and killed them both.  Mormons consider Smith a martyr.  Others say he died in a violent shoot-out.

Following Smith’s death there was a schism.  A small group called the Josephites became the Reorganized Church with headquarters in Missouri.  Most followed Brigham Young, who became their First President and prophet.  In 1847, Young took the followers to Utah and built Salt Lake City.

Today there are more than ten million Mormons worldwide-about half in the United States.  Mormonism is the largest new religious movement from the West since Christianity (which really came from the Near East).  It is also the first homegrown American religion.  Mormonism continues to grow because of it missionary impulse and its commitment to doctrinal and ethical distinctives.

Mormon Theology

Let me highlight seven areas of Mormon doctrine. Again, I won’t try to refute the Mormon position, but I hope you will see the explicit deviation from the historic Christian faith.

1. View of history. In Mormon thinking, the rise of Mormonism was not merely a reformation or renewal of the church. It was a complete restoration. Following the death of Christ’s apostles, the church fell into complete apostasy.  The church lost divine authority and true doctrine. There is no unbroken continuity from the early church to the present. Christianity, for almost all of its history, was false and without the truth—until Joseph Smith and his revelation. As Mohler points out, Mormonism not only rejects historic orthodox Christianity, their whole religion is based on the need for such repudiation.

2. View of revelation. Mormons believe the Bible (the KJV version), but do not consider it inerrant. Neither do they consider the Bible complete. What makes Mormonism unique is their belief in continuing revelation sustained through prophets, seers, and revelators. So while Mormons affirm the Bible, they also affirm the inspiration of the Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and the Pearl of Great Price. Through an elaborate hierarchy of President, First Presidency, Twelve Apostles, First Quorum of the Seventy, and Second Quorum of the Seventy, Mormons can receive authoritative interpretations and new authoritative revelations.

3. View of man. According to Mormon theology, men and women are the spirit sons and daughters of God.  We lived in a premortal spirit existence before birth. In this first estate we grew and developed in preparation for the second estate. In this second estate we walk by faith in this second state.  A veil of forgetfulness has been placed over our minds so we don’t remember what we did and who we used to be in our premortal existence. Our purpose in this life is to grow and mature in a physical body to prepare us for our final eternal state.

Mormons do not believe in human depravity. We are not implicated in Adam’s fall. We are basically good in our eternal nature, but prone to error in our mortal nature. The human is a being in conflict, but also a being with infinite potential.

4. View of God. In Mormon thought, God has a physical body. According to Doctrine and Covenants, “The Father has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s; the Son also;” but “The Holy Ghost has not a body of flesh and bones, but is a personage of Spirit.”

Whether God the Father is self-existent is unclear. There was a long procession of gods and fathers leading up to our Heavenly Father.  Brigham Young once remarked, “How many Gods there are, I do not know.  But there never was a time when there were not Gods and worlds.” What is clearer is that the Mormon God is not a higher order or a different species than man. God is a man with a body of flesh and bones like us.

Mormons do not believe in the Trinity. They will talk about the unity of three personages, but the unity is a relational unity in purpose and mind, not a unity of essence. The three separate beings of the Godhead are three distinct Gods.

5. View of Christ. Mormons believe Jesus is Redeemer, God, and Savior. He is endless and eternal, the only begotten son of the Father. Through Jesus, the Heavenly Father has provided a way for people to be like him and to live with him forever.

But this familiar language does not mean the same thing to Mormons as it does to Christians. Jesus was born of the Father just like all spirit children. God is his Father in the same way he is Father to all. Whatever immortality or Godhood Jesus possesses, they are inherited attributes and powers. He does not share the same eternal nature as the Father. Jesus may be divine, but his is a derivative divinity. As one Mormon theologian puts it, Jesus “is God the Second, the Redeemer.”

6. View of the Atonement. Mormons believe Jesus died for sins and rose again from the dead. The atonement is the central event in history and essential to their theology. And yet, Mormons do not have a precise doctrine of the atonement. They do not emphasize Christ as wrath-bearing substitute, but emphasize simply that Christ somehow mysteriously remits our sins through his suffering.

While the atonement itself is not overly defined, the way in which the atonement is made efficacious is much more carefully delineated. Salvation is available because of the atoning blood of Christ, but this salvation is only received upon four conditions: faith, repentance, baptism, and enduring to the end by keeping the commandments of God (which include various Mormon rituals).

Finally, it should be noted Mormon theology stresses the suffering the garden rather than the suffering on the cross. Atonement may have been completed on Golgotha, but is was made efficacious in Gethsemane.

7. View of salvation. The goal of Mormon salvation is not about escaping wrath as much as it is about maximizing our growth and insuring our happiness. Salvation is finding our way back to God the Father and recalling our forgotten first estate as his premortal spirit children.

Mormon theology teaches that we cannot receive eternal reward by our own unaided efforts. In some respects, salvation is based on what we have earn, but what we earn is by grace. How this plays out in Mormon life may differ from person to person, but they stress that the gift of the Holy Ghost is conditional upon continued obedience. Mormons must keep the First Principles and Ordinances, which consists of the Ten Commandments, tithing, chastity, and the “Word of Wisdom” which prohibits tobacco, coffee tea, alcohol and illegal narcotics.

Temples are also important in Mormon doctrine and practice. Couples must be married in a Mormon temple to have eternal marriage, and every Mormon must be baptized in one of their 135 (and counting) authorized Temples. Because of the importance of baptism in the Temple, baptisms for the dead are extremely common. Mormons keep detailed genealogical records so that their ancestors can be properly baptized. By one estimate more than 100 million deceased persons have been baptized by proxy baptism in Mormon temples. Those who received this baptism are free in the afterlife to reject or accept what has been done on their behalf.

Death in Mormon thinking is seen as another beginning, complete with opportunities to respond to postmortem preaching in the world to come. We will live in the spirit world, and at some point our spirit and body will be reunited forever.

There are four divisions in the afterlife. The Lake of Fire is reserved for the Devil, his demons, and those who commit the unpardonable sin. The Telestial Kingdom is where the wicked go. It is a place of suffering but not like the Lake of Fire. Most people go to the Telestial Kingdom where they are offered salvation again. The lukewarm-not quite good, not quite evil-go to the Terrestrial Kingdom when they die. This Kingdom is located on a distant planet in the universe. The Celestial Kindgom is for the righteous. Here God’s people live forever in God’s presence. We will live as gods and live with our spouses and continue to procreate. This is the aim and the end of Mormon salvation.


I encourage you to study Mormonism for yourself if you have more questions. I think you’ll find that though the language sounds similar at times, the beliefs are quite distinctive. Mormons do not understand history, God, man, salvation, heaven, hell, the cross, Jesus, or the Trinity as the canonical Scriptures teach, nor do they agree with the doctrine taught by the holy, catholic, apostolic church over two millennia.

October 22, 2011

Super Talented Christian Band THE CITY HARMONIC Releases First Full-Length Album, I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home)


“Fabulous,” “infectious,” “exciting,” “spectacular,” “worshipful,” “captivating,” “creative,” “brilliant” – all of these adjectives and more are being used by the critics as they applaud The City Harmonic for its first full-length album, I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home), which releases today on Kingsway with EMI CMG Distribution in the USA.

Already hitting No. 1 on the iTunes® Canada Inspirational Chart, the growing success has energized the band’s engaging live performances throughout North America. Recently finishing its headline tour with Aaron Gillespie, the band continues across North America this fall and will join newsboys for the “God’s Not Dead World Tour” that launches in January and travels coast-to-coast through April 2012. Tour dates to be announced soon.

For a limited time in conjunction with the release of I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home), The City Harmonic is offering the title track and current radio single for free through its Facebook page. The song was actually written even before the songs on the “Introducing” EP (Nov. 2010), and has always been the lynchpin on which the full-length record would hinge.

“The dream, like Martin Luther King’s, is that there is another way,” explains The City Harmonic front man Elias Dummer, “that it can be what we say it is, the eventual truth that we will awaken, just as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz awakened from her dream, to find ourselves home at last.”

The City Harmonic, consisting of Elias Dummer, bassist Eric Fusilier, guitarist Aaron Powell and drummer Josh Vanderlaan, wrote and recorded all of the songs for I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home), which was co-produced by the band and Jared Fox. From the “now but not yet” tension of earthly Christian living heard in much of the album, including the title track and “Mountaintop,” to having hope in the midst of struggle in “Fell Apart” and “Be Still O My Soul,” to dealing with apathy in “Yours” and “Wake Me Up” and living missionally in “Spark” and “Benediction,” the songs take the listener on a poetic journey.

Here is how the critics are responding to I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home):

“Following up their acclaimed Introducing EP, they prove here that they are no one-hit wonder. Artistic songs … will surely gain them even more accolades … Strong vocals and lilting instrumentation round out a fabulous first full-length album.” –CCM Magazine

“Musically captivating, the project builds from song to song, carrying the listener on a journey… Track by track, there are layers and mysteries and scriptural connections to explore… one of the best albums of 2011.” –

“No worship band in recent history has created the kind of reaction The City Harmonic has with their EP, Introducing The City Harmonic… their album has remained in the top 15 of all of Christian music … I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home) will continue the musical journey, with lyrics that point to the wonders of our God combined with sweeping melodies and infectious choruses … It has been this kind of embrace that has resulted in many naming The City Harmonic as the ‘New Artist of the Year.’” –

“Anyone who has heard and loved the song ‘Manifesto’ has an idea of the gifts the band The City Harmonic is bringing to current Christian music. Now… this new and exciting band … is getting ready to release its full-length debut.” –

“A band to be reckoned with, it’s hard to believe this is their full length debut. If this band don’t go on to become one of the best in Christian music, then there is simply no justice. Oozing talent, brilliant musicianship, huge sounding rock songs, what more could you want? An absolute gem of an album.” –Louder Than The Music (5-star review)

“The City Harmonic are ready to take the world of Christian music by storm.” –I Am Entertainment

“A few adjectives to describe the band The City Harmonic: Uplifting. Brilliant. Grandiose. Jubilant. Fortunately for us music lovers, when they breathe in all that is good, they also breathe out this music that words can’t describe, speakers can’t contain, and other bands could never duplicate.” –Relate Magazine

“This album is uplifting, song after song. It’s filled with emotional vocals and meaningful lyrics … Cleverly crafted piano and guitar blend perfectly with lead singer Elias Dummer’s vocals for a truly spectacular listening experience.” –Teen Ink

“I believe this is the best debut album by any band in the history of Christian music. If it were possible I would give this album ten stars out of five.” –Christian Music Review Blog (5-star review)

“Definitely deserving of a five-star rating, the anticipated follow-up to their Introducing The City Harmonic EP was well worth the wait!!” –Jay’s Musik Blog (5-star review)

“While there is so much to be said for this kind of talent and creativity, it should suffice to simply know that quality in every regard positively abounds in this album. Is it worth your dollars? More than ten times.” –

“The record is outstanding both lyrically and sonically.” –

In less than a year, The City Harmonic went from being virtually unknown to international acclaim. The band has gathered an impressive five nominations, including New Artist of the Year, for the Gospel Music Association Canada’s 33rd Annual Covenant Awards that will be held in Calgary, AB October 28. Its unifying hit radio single, “Manifesto,” which is featured as a bonus track for a limited time on I Have A Dream (It Feels Like Home), has sold over 90,000 copies as its companion video has been viewed on YouTube by over 1,000,000 people. Becoming the best-selling new artist of 2011 on the SoundScan Top Current digital singles sales chart, the band has simultaneously gathered endorsements from Mac Powell (Third Day), Peter Furler, Matt Redman, Kyle Korver (Chicago Bulls), Seth Smith (Colorado Rockies), as well as “likes” from Tommy Shaw of Styx and thousands of others on its Facebook page.

More information on The City Harmonic can be found at

October 22, 2011

One Of The Best Christian Songs Of 2011 You’ve Never Even Heard About: MATT MAHER’S CHRIST IS RISEN


One of my favorite things in the world is to discover awesome new Christian songs that were hidden in fairly over-looked music albums.  The song may not be new in the strict sense of the word, but they are new to me. And usually when that happens I love to share it with other people who never have heard or heard about the song. One such song is the song “Christ Is Risen” by Christian recording artist Matt Maher.

I was kidding when I said in the blog post title that’s its a song of 2011, it’s really off his 2009 album “Alive Again.” And in my view, its a true gem.  If you’ve never heard it or heard about it before I think you’ll appreciate the heads up.  I listen to this all the time, often replaying more than five times at a time.

Here is the youtube video that you can use to listen to the song.  Definitely worth checking out.



Let no one caught in sin remain

Inside the lie of inward shame

We fix our eyes upon the cross

And run to Him who showed great love


And bled for us

Freely You’ve bled for us


Christ is risen from the dead

Trampling over death by death

Come awake come awake

Come and rise up from the grave


Christ is risen from the dead

We are one with Him again

Come awake come awake

Come and rise up from the grave


Beneath the weight of all our sin

You bowed to none but heaven’s will

No scheme of hell no scoffer’s crown

No burden great can hold You down

Lyrics provided by

Source –


In strength You reign

Forever let Your church proclaim


Christ is risen from the dead

Trampling over death by death

Come awake come awake

Come and rise up from the grave


Christ is risen from the dead

We are one with Him again

Come awake come awake

Come and rise up from the grave


O death where is your sting?

O hell where is your victory?

O church come stand in the light


The glory of God has defeated the night


Sing it o death where is your sting?

O hell where is your victory?

O church come stand in the light

Our God is not dead He’s alive He’s alive


Christ is risen from the dead

Trampling over death by death

Come awake come awake

Come and rise up from the grave


Christ is risen from the dead

We are one with Him again

Come awake come awake

Come and rise up from the grave


Christ is risen from the dead

Trampling over death by death

Come awake come awake

Come and rise up from the grave


Christ is risen from the dead

We are one with Him again

Come awake come awake

Come and rise up from the grave

Rise up from the grave




October 19, 2011

Andy Stanley And Charles Stanley Speak At The Southern Baptist Pastors Conference



Charles Stanley — long-time pastor of First Baptist Church in Atlanta — and his son, Andy Stanley — pastor of the Atlanta-area North Point Community Church — appeared together on the platform of the Southern Baptist Pastors’ Conference June 14.

Charles Stanley was honored on the 25th anniversary of his election to a second, one-year term as SBC president; Andy Stanley, who was introduced by his father, delivered a sermon titled “Some things I’ve been thinking about recently regarding local church leadership.”

In a video montage that included several Southern Baptist leaders and pastors, Charles Stanley reflected on the 1985 Southern Baptist convention in Dallas, saying, “It was a very tumultuous time. In fact, it was just warfare, a time of great strife, disagreement, hardship in everybody’s life.”

Reluctant to allow his name for nomination as president in 1984, Stanley recalled that he had prayed, fasted and enumerated the reasons he couldn’t do it — and cited the others who’d do a better job. But after encountering God in a way “that scared me to death,” Stanley relented.

“When there’s so much at stake, you don’t count the cost,” Stanley told the Pastors’ Conference audience regarding the Conservative Resurgence. “You just decide you’re going to obey God and leave all the consequences to him. And one thing is for certain: you cannot fail obeying God; there’s no way.”

Shifting his attention to his son, Charles noted that the three campuses of North Point Community Church where Andy Stanley is pastor have a combined membership of 20,000 people, and that the church has started 20 congregations in other parts of the United States.

“As I look back through the years, and what’s happening in [Andy’s] life today,” Charles said, “I could not be more grateful than to say: I want to ask you to welcome my son, Andy Stanley.”

Andy called it “a real treat” to be with his father at the Pastors’ Conference before turning to the subject of church leadership. Andy recalled when, in the early 1990s, the Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A restaurant was facing stiff competition from the upstart Boston Market restaurant. Chick-fil-A leaders were trying to figure out how Chick-fil-A could get bigger, faster. Company founder Truett Cathy pounded on the table and said, “I am sick and tired of listening to you talk about how we can get bigger. If we get better, our customers will demand we get bigger.”

Applying Cathy’s prescription to church growth, Stanley said that getting better, and ultimately bigger, requires evaluation and clarification. “I think the local church should be the best-run organization in your town,” he said, because the church is “the vehicle through which the Gospel is fed to and communicated to the whole world.”

Too many churches are making it difficult for unchurched and unsaved people to attend church, Stanley said. “We’ve created church for church people,” he said. “And that reflects a desire more focused on keeping people in the church than reaching those outside of it.”

For North Point, Stanley said that if any program or project isn’t about “bringing people to faith … we don’t do it. … We want an organization that reflects the Great Commission.”

“Identify and remove unnecessary obstacles,” Stanley advised the pastors. Being careful not to discount the gospel, he said it is offensive, but that neither the parking lot nor the children’s ministry should be offensive. “It’s OK to offend people with the gospel, but, good grief, let’s don’t offend them with something else.”

October 19, 2011

STEVEN FURTICK’S Church ELEVATION WORSHIP Signs Record Deal With Provident Music

Photo (L-R, standing): Blaine Barcus, VP A&R, Provident Label Group; Chris Brown, Elevation Worship; Terry Hemmings, President & CEO, Provident Music Group; Mack Brock, Elevation Worship; Scott Knight, VP Business Affairs, Provident Music Group; (L-R, seated) Wade Joye, Elevation Worship; London Gatch, Elevation Worship; Holly Zabka, Senior Director, Essential Music Publishing.


(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) Oct. 18, 2011– Elevation Worship, a Charlotte, N.C.-based worship team from one of America’s fastest growing churches will release its national debut album, For The Honor, on Essential Worship November 22.

Worship leaders Wade Joye, Mack Brock, Chris Brown and London Gatch lead Elevation Worship and serve full-time at Elevation Church in Charlotte, N.C. The church, established by Pastor Steven Furtick, launched with eight families and one massive vision to reach people far from God.

In fewer than six years, Elevation Church has grown to more than 10,000 people at six locations across the Charlotte area, making it the second fastest growing church in America. Pastor Steven is also becoming one of the most influential leaders, speakers and authors in the country.

From the beginning, Pastor Steven had a vision for Elevation Worship to write and record songs that reflected the church’s journey, experiences and needs. The fourth album from Elevation Worship, and its first national release, For The Honor features all original songs including the title track, “Give Me Faith”, “All Things New,” “Exalted One” and “The Church.” A complete track listing for the release follows:

1. Exalted One
2. Lord is My Rock/You Lifted Me Out
3. For The Honor
4. God Be Praised
5. The Church
6. The Highest
7. Victorious
8. We Rejoice
9. Give Me Faith
10. All Things New
11. The Gospel
12. You Reign Alone
13. Give My Life to You
14. Our King Has Come

Additionally, a digital deluxe version of the album will contain 3 bonus songs, 5 music videos, For The Honor documentary, chord charts for all songs and more.

As with recent movements including Hillsong, Passion and Jesus Culture, Elevation Worship seeks to bring new ideas to the worship arena, connecting with other worship leaders as well as churches to better serve God and His Church through worship.

Worship Pastor Wade Joye says, “We have seen God do the impossible in our church time and time again, and we consider it such an honor to give voice through these songs to the great things He has done. Our prayer is that all who hear this project will be inspired to believe that the Lord can do the same in their own lives and churches.”

For further information on Elevation Worship, including album artwork and press images, please visit:

October 19, 2011







Kisses from Katie: A Story of Relentless Love and Redemption is now available at your local bookstore! I cannot say enough about Katie, her inspiring story and the impact that she is having (with Amazima) on the people in Uganda. I visited her in May and met her girls and met the Amazima team and I feel so privileged to know these people and serve with them.

In Kisses from Katie you read how Katie Davis graduated high school and moved to Uganda at the age of 18 to teach Kindergarten in an orphanage. She did not know the language. She had very few connections in the country. She took the untraditional, unconventional path and followed Jesus to Uganda, away from her sheltered upbringing, leaving behind her little brother and her boyfriend and all her high school friends, to live in a tiny bedroom (more like a closet) in a land of red-clay dirt, orphaned children, poverty, and disease. Yet she would find in Uganda a joy that surpasses her greatest expectations. She discovers the closer she gets to following Jesus, the more beauty and joy and purpose she experiences.

Some of my favorite parts of the book are describing all her first impressions and cultural observations of Uganda. Believing she would teach 12-15 students, she arrived to 138 pairs of eyes eagerly waiting her instruction. Can you imagine it? She describes encounters with rats, diseased children, her first trip to Masese, how she came to add her daughters to her family, and the birth of Amazima Ministries, the organization I work for and love.

Mostly this book is about an ordinary woman who is able to do extraordinary things, not because of who she is, but because of who He is. I really love Richard Stearn’s endorsement of her book:

“When you think of what one young woman can accomplish by simply being open to God’s call no matter the cost, you begin to ask questions like, Am I really open to God’s will for my life? Through Katie’s story, we’re reminded how God can use ordinary people to do extraordinary things for Him. We simply need to be willing to be used.” Rich Stearns, president of World Vision U.S. and author of The Hole in Our Gospel

October 17, 2011

CHRISTINE CAINE Guest Post: The Day God Wrecked My Life

October 17, 2011



Nicole C. Mullen celebrates the success of her album Captivated with a nod from Worship Leader Magazine for one of 2011’s Best of the Best “Top Worship Albums” and her upcoming induction into the Christian Music Hall of Fame on Nov. 5, 2011. Mullen’s new single, “Holy Captivated,” is impacting AC and INSPO radio now.

“Nicole is such a joy to work with and a true woman of God,” said the album’s producer, Ed Cash. “‘Holy Captivated’ was the first song she sent me, and I knew immediately that I wanted to be a part of her record. The words to this song just take me to the throne room.” Early response to the new radio single is another reflection of the incredible impact Captivated is having on audiences.

Riding on the momentum of Captivated, “Holy Captivated” is Mullen’s second single from the album produced by Cash. Written by Mullen and Antonio Neal, the song features Mullen’s heartfelt vocals backed by equally powerful lyrics.

“‘Holy Captivated’ is a song that I began to write one morning as I was waking up,” explained Mullen. “Without sounding ‘hyper-spiritual,’ it was as if my spirit was singing it before my mind could craft it. The song is a declaration of the awesomeness of God, regardless of our emotional climate. He is good in every season of life, even when horrible things happen. He is worthy of worship when our lives are experiencing the freshness of spring. He is worthy of worship in the hard winter seasons. He is worthy of worship in death and in life. He is HOLY, HOLY, HOLY!”

Mullen’s brilliant resume, highlighted by her CD, Captivated, and her lifelong commitment to ministry are key reasons why Worship Leader Magazine named the recording one of the best of the best this year and why she is being honored as an inductee into the Christian Music Hall of Fame in November.

“We are very pleased to induct Nicole C. Mullen into the Christian Music Hall of Fame,” said Christian Music Hall of Fame Chairman Andy Woolard. “Her career spans 20 years since her first release of uplifting and encouraging people and praising our One True God. Her Multiple Dove Awards and GRAMMY nominations, along with continued touring, show us Nicole is worthy of our recognition and induction. We pray Nicole continues to be an encouragement and has many more years of spreading the word of God through her music.”

Nicole C. Mullen possesses a diverse resume as a wife, mother, singer, songwriter, speaker, and successful businesswoman as well as a minister and mentor. She has written and recorded such classic songs as “Redeemer” and supplied signature songs to other worshiping artists. Songwriting has always been one of Mullen’s most treasured gifts and she’s used it as a vehicle to encourage, inspire and to teach. Her creativity and compassion have fueled a life of ministry with global impact, mentoring young people through her Baby Girls Club and Team NCM.

For more information, visit

October 13, 2011


After a short break from recording, Shane Barnard and Shane Everett are back with their latest record, The One You Need. Life has taken a new direction for the Shanes. No longer touring heavily, they are now rooted to a home base and local church in Dallas, where they lead worship and teach music classes–Barnard teaches songwriting, while Everett focuses on the technical aspects.
The men have made a conscious effort to shift their focus and simplify their ministry in order to be attentive to their families and present in their community. As part of their new direction, Shane & Shane have partnered with their new label, Fair Trade Services (MercyMe, The Afters, Laura Story), to create an entirely self-written, self-produced project.
It’s obvious from the first track that this is a different Shane & Shane album. “Liberty”–which opens with stomps, percussive beats, and rhythmic guitars–is a rollicking, raw, high-energy tune that would be right at home on a NEEDTOBREATHE record. Lyrically, the song starts with a scripture verse from 2 Corinthians 3:17: “The Lord is the Spirit and where the Spirit of the Lord is [now], there is liberty.” Since Christ’s sacrifice allows the Spirit of the Lord to live within us, the guys marry the first scripture verse to a Galatians 5:1-inspired bridge, which begins with “for freedom, you set me free.” It then launches into a celebratory romp like no other, with the Shanes passionately declaring, “Yes am I free indeed! You rewrote my name, unshackled my shame; You opened my eyes to see…I am free.”
It’s worth noting that the song, which celebrates freedom in Christ and life in the Spirit (Romans 8), breaks free from its own musical confines for a loose interval that tells the story of the crucifixion and ends with free-form, gospel-style shouting and singing of “It is done!” and “I am free!” This section builds to a false ending before returning to the tune’s sing-along, stomping, clapping refrain. “Liberty” is the highlight of the record, and Shane & Shane throw themselves into the performance with unbridled energy and a sound that perfectly captures the emotions we feel when Jesus frees us from the burdens and bondage of our spiritual chains.
Shane & Shane quickly shift gears for “Your Love.” This tender, introspective song is sung by a grateful recipient of God’s mercy and unfailing love. The central lyric speaks of God’s power to break us apart and transform us, and how this divine transformation frees us from fear and doubt: “Your love tears me up and when it’s done, puts me together. Your love calls me out of my doubt and my failure.”
Once we experience His love, our lives are changed. And from that moment, we don’t want to live apart from God, so it’s fitting that the next track, “Without You,” touches on this fact. It depicts a prayerful follower crying out to God: “Here I am. I’m calling out, Father. Can you hear me? Can you hear me? I don’t want to go without you.” This shows the fear and uncertainty we all have at times. Though we know that God strengthens us, and we understand, by faith, that He is with us, we want to be reassured. We cry out in prayer and ask God to make His presence felt: “Here I am. Can you talk a little louder? So I can hear you? I wanna hear you! I don’t want to move without you.”
“Future Version” is a funky little tune with a Hammond B-3 organ and a ’70s sound that feels inspired by Stevie Wonder. Fans of Chris August will like this song, which discusses our constant legalistic struggle–our efforts to try to win God’s love and approval. The narrator talks about improving himself: “Maybe a future version of me, you’ll love… I’m trying to change into a future version you can embrace”
Luckily, as God reminds us in the song, nothing can separate us from Jesus’ love: “You are loved, regardless of the things you’ve said and done. No mistake can change my mind. Come, seek, and find. My love is yours, right now.” Did I mention the song is funky? It segues into a jazzy, bossa-nova-like section before later resuming the familiar groove. By the end, the spiritual striver, now confident in God’s promise, repeats the words himself: “I am loved, regardless of the things I’ve said and done….”
This is a process we all go through. We struggle and doubt, God gently reminds us of His love, and eventually the message of grace sinks in. Grace is so illogical to us! It turns us upside-down! So we continually need to be reminded that even though it doesn’t make any sense, God loves us in spite of our flaws. When our chase for perfection blinds us to the meaning of grace, this song will serve as the friendly nudge we need.
“Because He’s God” is another of the album’s standout tracks. It’s written as God’s answer to a seeker asking, “How do ya get to Heaven?” God’s response: “There’s a way to go, an open door for the human soul. You can come today. Jesus is the way. He’s my only Son. He’s the one I love, and I gave Him up for you to be saved. Jesus is the way.”
The song talks about the two roads we are faced with and the need for personal decision in our lives here on Earth. While the wider road may be tempting and sometimes easier, only one path leads to salvation: Jesus is the way. This is a good lead-in to the title track, “The One You Need.” The most personal composition on the CD, the song was started by Shane Barnard a week before the birth of Lucy, his daughter with wife Bethany Dillon. Shane Everett, who has two girls of his own, later helped Barnard finish the song. The duo put to music a father’s prayer for his daughter, an earnest hope that she’ll grow up to have Jesus in her heart. The father sings, “I wish that I could be your everything…Sometimes I’m gonna let you down. But there’s someone if you just believe. He’ll be your hero like He’s always been for me. Darling, Jesus is the One you need.” Though the song is written as a gift from father to daughter, it will be a sure comfort to any who may need God to father them. It’s a reminder that we are all children of God.
“Miracle” is similar to “Without You.” It’s another prayer, another crying out to God. A weary soul is asking for a miracle, but not the kind you think. We read about miracles, but in our doubt, we don’t feel like we see them in our lives. Shane sings, “I don’t need to see a dead man come alive. All I want is You to fill me up inside. I need you, Lord. Even more than the air I breathe. I need you, Lord. Right away.” The music supports the lyric perfectly, with a piano melody that echoes the cry, “I need you, Lord.” We ask God to come to us, to make His presence felt. In our crying out, God always meets us, and that’s the miracle. But more than that, because we tend to look for grand signs, we overlook God’s presence in the small things, in every minute of our lives. Every moment we live and breathe is a miracle.
“Victory” is another scripture-inspired tune. In this case it’s 1 Corinthians 15:57. The song celebrates the victory we are given by God through Christ. A seeker asks, “What could be great about my life?” The answer: Jesus. Shane & Shane sing: “You make me great. Your steadfast love gives the victory. Oh, Your love has made me great.” This song is nearly all chorus, and as such is a great opportunity to sing along in praise.
“I’m Running” follows, and it’s one of my favorites. The visual of a follower running to Jesus is perfect because we see people “come running” throughout the Gospels, particularly in Mark, when Jesus walks through towns performing miracles, healing people, and shaking up lives. Suitably, the chorus finds the Christ follower exclaiming: “I’m a dead man raised, a liberated slave. I’m running… to You… my hands are raised. I’m giving everything. And I’m running.”
It’s 2 Corinthians 12:9 that serves as the backbone of “Grace Is Sufficient.” The song has a gospel flavor and the vocals are brimming with emotion. Several vignettes are presented, different scenes that happen in our everyday lives. It’s a sequence of “what if” scenarios, little moments of “what are you gonna say to God when…” in which we run to God in prayer, but don’t always have the words. God’s reply never waivers or varies. “My Grace is Sufficient,” He always says, reminding us that He is all we need and He’ll carry us through.
The penultimate track, “Lift Up the Light,” is my favorite, and sure to be a hit with listeners. Like “Liberty,” it takes a couple scriptural verses and combines them. Shane & Shane were involved with the Glory Revealed CD projects which put scripture to song and this is a perfect example of that on their own record. First there is Psalm 4:6: “Lift up the light of Your countenance upon us, O Lord!” Shane Barnard explains that he combined this verse with images inspired by his reading of Revelation (Chapter 21: 23-27). He sings to God: “You are the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). Light up our darkness when the night is upon us. You are the light of the world. Nations will walk by the light of the glory of the Holy God.” As the song continues, Shane & Shane ask God to shine His light on us that we might share it with others: “O Holy One, brighter than the sun… You are glorious. Shine Your light on us, ’til Your light in us is seen.” This is a perfect worship song and many will be singing along, whether at concerts, through the radio, or in church congregations.
Finally, the album closes with the gentle “Praise Him.” You’ll notice more scripture, including Psalm 150:6: “Let everything that has breath…” and 1 Chronicles 23:30. The song urges us to praise God in all circumstances, at all times: “Praise Him in the morning when the feeling’s gone, praise Him in the evening when you’re all alone. Praise Him in the noonday when you’re moving along. Praise Him when you have another moment to sing this song. Let the praise roll on.” The song is musically the opposite of “Liberty,” but together these songs create a perfect beginning and end for the record. While we were brought to our feet at the album’s opening, we are brought to our knees at its close. And that’s right where we need to be.
Closing Thoughts:
Shane & Shane’s The One You Need is a scripture-soaked record full of the good news of the Gospel. Musically diverse, there are many styles present and sometimes blended: pop/rock, jazz, folk, worship, and gospel. The songs may not all grab you immediately–they aren’t short, catchy pop tunes–and some may be better suited to corporate worship and personal listening than radio. But I think this is what Shane & Shane intended for their new musical direction. Upon repeated listening, these songs get under your skin. And you’ll find the record is worth many listens. While the sounds vary, the collective themes connect the songs to form a unified message. As such, the album is appropriately titled, for all songs point to Jesus, the One you need.


October 13, 2011



Christian music pioneers the Newsboys is releasing a new album called God’s Not Dead, their first worship album since 2004, on Nov. 15 and are gearing up for a tour in promotion of the record.

Joining the Newsboys for the tour are: The City Harmonic, Anthem Lights and Abandon, with preaching from Bob Lentz.

This will be singer Michael Tait’s second album with the Newsboys since he took over vocal duties for them in 2009 due to the departure of band founder Peter Furler.

Tait was in the band in 2009, but the album In the Hands of God was written and recorded with Furler while Tait sang live.

Prior to the Newsboys and some solo work, Tait was in the biggest Christian group of all time, dc Talk from 1989 to 2000, with Toby Mac and Kevin Max Smith, before the group went on hiatus with solo careers.

Furler, originally the band’s drummer from 1985-97, took over vocals when former vocalist John James left due to an admitted drug and alcohol problem.

Together the band has released 15 albums spawning countless singles and major tours, and received worldwide critical success with their 1994 album Going Public featuring their biggest single “Shine” and 1996’s album Take Me to Your Leader.

They’ve been nominated for four Grammy’s and 24 Dove Awards winning five including Rock Album of the Year, Rock Recorded Song of the Year, Recorded Music Packaging of the Year, Short Form Music Video of the Year, and Event Album of the Year.

Other awards won include Best CCM Video 1999 by the Billboard Music Video Awards, 1995 Video Award and 1999 Video Award from the International Angel Awards, and Favorite CCM Album 1999 from the Nashville Music Awards.

The Newsboys is currently touring Canada before they join THE STORY TOUR with Max Lucado, Steve Curtis Chapman, and more.

Date, City, State Location
12/1 Wichita, Kan. Central Christian
12/2 Dallas, Texas American Airlines Center
12/3 Tulsa, Okla. BOK Center
12/4 Austin, Texas Shoreline Christian Center
12/7 Longwood, Fla. Northland Church
12/8 Atlanta, Ga. Philips Arena
12/9 Winston–Salem, N.C. LJVM Coliseum
12/10 Virginia Beach, Va. Rock Church
12/11 Woodbridge, Va. Hylton Chapel
12/14 Plymouth, Mich. Northridge Community Church
12/15 Grand Rapids, Mich. First Assembly of God
12/16 Hoffman Estates, Ill. Life Changers Church
12/17 Eden Prairie, Minn.Grace Church
12/18 Independence, Mo. Independence Events Center

October 13, 2011

The Sweetest Video You Will Ever See! You Have To Watch This 3-Minute Video It Will Make Your Week

I came across this incredible video a few days and was just blown away.  You have to watch it.
Wait until you see what this little girl does when her parents reveal her biggest birthday present.

Her name is Lily.


October 12, 2011



Atlanta, Ga –October 10, 2011 –Dedicated to providing uplifting music and family entertainment, gmc announces the acting debut of four-time GMA Dove Award Female Vocalist of the Year Natalie Grant this Sunday in the gmc world premiere movie, Decision. Sharing the story of a family in despair rediscovering their faith, Decision debuts October 16 at 7 PM and 9 PM EST as well as re-airing Sunday, October 23 at 11 AM EST.

Grant stars in this touching and dramatic movie dealing with family, loss, love and faith. Decision also features award-winning country music star Billy Dean as well as the theme song by American Idol contestant Ricky Braddy (Season 8).

“I’m so excited that my debut acting role was in a film that offers so much hope and stresses the importance of faith and family,” shares Grant. “I was also honored to work along side some wonderful people who were patient with me and helped this ‘rookie’ every step of the way!”

In this uplifting drama, Grant stars as Ilene, a mother struggling to make ends meet after the tragic death of her firefighter husband (Billy Dean). When she begins to lose control of her heartbroken teenage son Jackson (Michael Rosenbaum), she reaches out to her estranged father Wyatt (Rusty Whitener) to take in the troubled boy. Gradually, they form a bond that will require Jackson to find an inner strength he never knew he had to avert yet another family tragedy.

For a sneak peak of the movie, check out the trailer on

October 12, 2011

It’s TEBOW TIME !!!! TIM TEBOW Officially Named Starting Quarterback Of The DENVER BRONCOS

It’s official, there is a God in heaven!!! Tim Tebow was named the starting quarterback of the Denver Broncos.

I can’t tell you how much joy it brings me to share the good news of Tim Tebow’s promotion to number 1 QB in Denver.  It’s no secret that all of us here at Awaken Generation are huge Tebow fans and are rooting for him to do great things in the NFL.  We love his unashamed stand for Christ in culture, his humility, class and winning spirit.  And we love those Bible verses he tweets every game day for all the world to see.

Coach John Fox informed Broncos players at a team meeting on Tuesday that Tebow would get the call in Week 7, following Denver’s bye week, at Miami.

Tebow replaced Orton in the second half Sunday with the Broncos down 13 points at halftime, and completed four of 10 passes for 79 yards and a touchdown off a screen pass in his two quarters of action. He had his troubles with a few snaps. But Tebow’s practice reps were limited and he’d hardly played since preseason, so some rust can be expected.

The former first-round pick has legions of followers and supporters but also many detractors who doubt his ability to win consistently in the NFL because of an unorthodox throwing motion and poor downfield accuracy. He entered the season expecting to start, but when the Broncos failed to complete a trade of Orton, Tebow was outplayed in training camp and fell behind Orton.

Ironically, the Dolphins will be honoring the University of Florida’s 2008 National Championship team on Oct. 23 when Tebow and the Broncos visit. Dolphins rookie center Mike Pouncey played on that team, as did Tebow.

I do want to say that we appreciate and respect Kyle Orton tremendously as a quarterback and by no means do we intend to demean or slight Orton as Tebow fans.  And I really feel for him considering he had to go out there each week knowing that the entire city was calling for Tebow to play.  It really is not personal Kyle, you’re one heck of a football player.

One of the things I have found particularly ridiculous are the constant cheap shots Tebow detractors have been taken throughout this whole Orton-Tebow debacle, both at Tebow himself and his many fans, saying “Tebow’s a joke and will never make it in the NFL and everyone calling for his instatement are ignorant so and so’s who know nothing about football.”  I want to say to them, as Tebow fans we are not delusional, we know he’s got a long way to go and a lot of improvement to undergo.  We know right now he’s not the best QB in the league, we know that.  The reason we’re rooting for him and want him to play is because he is a proven winner and we know that given the time to develop he will find great success in the NFL.  I just find it so surprising that his detractors are writing him off, and he’s not even had one full season of playing in the NFL.  He just got out of college, and has spent all of his two years in the league on the sidelines, so why so quick to pan him?  Seems very unjustified to me.

Many people forget that Kobe Bryant used to be on the bench for the Lakers for many years before he became the Kobe we know today.  So was Derek Fisher.  Aaron Rogers was very poor QB when he first started in the NFL as a back-up to Brett Favre but he got better over time—more than five years.  There are many great sports stars who weren’t always that good when they first started in the big leagues, but they grew and got better over time.  As Tebow fans, we know that is needed for him too—we’re not delusional.  But he’s proven himself before so we have no reason to doubt him.  We know he’ll do great things.  And we can’t wait to watch him sling it every Sunday for a long time to come.

October 12, 2011



Response is in my mind one of the best Phil Wickham albums to date.  And his voice shines with particularly brilliance on this album. Response is quickly becoming one of my favorite albums of this year. Phil Wickham actually surprised me, because I did not expect Response to be this good.  The lyrics are some of the most meaningful lyrics I’ve heard in a very long time. This album is filled with emotion and it just seeps out through every single song. Each song sounds unique and each song sends chills up your spine because of how powerful it is. You will quickly fall in love with this album.
“Heaven Fall Down” is a great song to start the album off with. Some albums (like this one) start off the album with an amazing song that really sets the mood for the rest of the album, then there are some albums that start off with a song that has nothing to do with the concept of the album and it really starts the album off on a bad note. Phil Wickham did a great job of selecting this song to be the first track you hear on Response. The chorus has as much emotion as every single song by Hillsong combined. I love it when you can literally feel the emotion in a song. You feel as if you are there with Phil Wickham when you listen to “Heaven Fall Down.” His heart’s song becomes your heart’s song. He says, “We’re crying out in desperation for You!” Listen to it a couple of times, and this line will make you get down on your knees in reverence for God.

I really love the track “One God.” This song really makes me feel empowered. When he says, “Wonderful Savior from death you rise,” it makes me feel like I can do anything. The whole song reminds me that God is there in everything and He reigns over all. Think about it, he says, “Father of mercy You break the chains, now there is victory in Jesus’ name!” God is there for us. This song has amazing lyrics and also a nice beat to go with it.

The first single from the album “At Your Name (Yahweh, Yahweh)” is a nice melodic song. It is one of those songs that helps to close your eyes and really revel in the music and his voice. This song talks about how majestic our Lord and Savior is. Just close your eyes and listen to it and think of all He has done for you. You will quickly be filled with awe for our Savior.

“Sun and Moon” is a great ballad between Phil and God. He says that if God is the sun then he wants to be the moon because he wants to reflect Him. It is such a beautiful song that really captures the heart of most Christians. Lecrae said the same thing a while back in DJ Official’s song “Show Off.” I absolutely love that analogy, and I think Phil Wickham has probably done it the best in song that I have ever heard.

Response is a beautiful album that I am quickly growing to love. Phil Wickham knows how to craft words and make them sound more beautiful than anything you have ever heard. This album is definitely his best so far. Every single song on the album is worth listening to. If you like worship music, then this is the album for you. It has the most meaningful lyrics of any CD to come out this year. You will be blown away.

Favorite Song: Sun and Moon

Favorite Lyrics: “Take these hands, I know they’re empty but with You they can be used for beauty in Your perfect plan. All I am is yours.” (From the song “All I Am”)

October 10, 2011

MARK SCHULTZ To Release First Instrumental Album Called RENAISSANCE Followed By A Live Tour



New York, NY – (October 10, 2011) – Platinum selling artist Mark Schultz is known for his deeply emotional music that same powerful sound will be heard on his upcoming instrumental album titled Renaissance releasing November 1st.

Always on the move, Mark recently spoke to several major New York City press outlets in support of the new album and his novel Letters From War. These included SIRIUS/XM Satellite Radio, ABC News, CBS Radio, PIX 11 Morning News and an appearance on FOX News Live, which can be seen here – The attention has rallied fans both old and new and sent preorders forRenaissance soaring to over 70,000. However, there is nothing that Schultz enjoys more than being in concert halls with his fans and he looks forward to all of his performances this year.

For more information, please visit


October 10, 2011

PITTSBURGH STEELER’S TROY POLAMALU Pranks Fans At Madame Tussauds Wax Museum: Hilarious!

Saw this video a few days ago of Troy Palumalu pranking fans at Madame Tussauds Wax Museum.  Who is Madame Tussauds any way? But never the less, it was hilarious.  Thought I’d share it here.


October 8, 2011

New PHIL WICKHAM Album RESPONSE Debuts In Top 20 On iTunes


(Nashville, Tenn) October 5, 2011—Over the years praised singer/songwriter Phil Wickham’s works have been met by critical acclaim and commercial success. Response is proving to continue this trend as it released this week and has already flown to No. 2 on the iTunes ® Christian Chart. Also trending with his past critical success are the rave reviews Response is receiving:

“Wickham’s a true original thanks to clever wordplay, adventurous arrangements, and the ability to strike just the right balance between reverence and resourcefulness.” –

“This is the worship album Phil Wickham fans have been asking for. With his trademark poetic lyrics and infectious melodies, Responsepresents pop worship songs- the perfect collection of vertical songs for your church, car, or playlist.”-Christian Musician Magazine

“Wickham’s songwriting is in a higher caliber than most songs on Christian radio right now…It’s easy to dive into God’s glory with Wickham on this album. It’s one of the best worship records you’ll get this year and you won’t want it any other way.” –

“Phil Wickham’s enthusiastic and reverent style of writing and singing praise and worship songs has consistently been a draw. Wickham’s prayerful sentiments are consistently filled with his personal adoration of God. Response is no exception. Several of these songs should be added to your Sunday morning worship set.” –New Release Tuesday

“It’s a very humble and reverent album, declaring who God is, what He has done for us, and sums up what our proper Response should be.”

“You will be inspired to worship along with this gorgeous, serene music as you contemplate the goodness of God and His glory and power. You will also enjoy Phil’s dynamic vocals that only magnify this powerful fourth album from Phil Wickham.”

Featured on the chart-topping album is Wickham’s latest radio hit “At Your Name (Yahweh, Yahweh)” that is climbing the radio charts with support from top Christian radio like K-LOVE radio network, KSBJ/Houston, KXOJ/Tulsa & WDJC/Birmingham among others. Watch Wickham open up about the single and the full album here.

In conjunction with the new release, Wickham will also tour around the country this fall performing songs from Response and more. For more information on Wickham, his music and a full list of tour dates please visit

About Phil Wickham:
Phil Wickham is at his core a humble and sincere artist who writes songs and worships God using the medium of music. It is with that brush that he paints images of a loving and creative God across the canvases of listeners’ hearts and minds. The evidence of this gift has been apparent on all three of his critically acclaimed efforts: Phil Wickham (2006); Cannons (2007) and Heaven & Earth (2009). He continues to prove this on his latest fourth studio album, Response, which released October 4 with Fair Trade Services.

Selling 200,000 albums to date, Wickham has been featured in major publications such as CCM, Relevant, Worship Leader, Christian Music Today,, SongTouch, Advance Magazine, and more. Both Heaven & Earth and Cannons made their way into the top 5 on iTunes Christian album charts, and the single “Safe” placed in the top 20 on Billboard’s Christian AC and Soft AC/Inspirational charts.

Wickham has toured with some of the industry’s most renowned artists including MercyMe and the David Crowder* Band. For more information please visit

October 7, 2011




I just came across a tweet by Max Lucado, stating that Zondervan is making his latest book available for free download.  That’s a retail value of $24.99 for FREE !!!.

You can click here to download your free copy.

You can download it from different retailers like apple’s iBooks, amazon, Barnes & Noble &  I chose to go with Christian book since I don’t have a kindle or iPad, which is what you’ll need to download the ebook from those retailers.  However, before I could download the ebook from Christian book I had to:

1.  Open a Christian book account (since I didn’t have one)

2.  Download and install Adobe’s Digital Reader on my computer

3.  I had to open an account on Adobe to use the reader.


But after I did all this I got Max’s new book free.  So I am happy about that.


Below is a trailer for his new book.



October 7, 2011



Brian Houston

“When your heart is no longer in it, the first two things that disappear are your joy & your generosity. 2 Cor 8:2.”




October 7, 2011




Vice Verses (Credential Recordings/lowercase people and Atlantic Records), the new album from GRAMMY-winning rock bandSWITCHFOOT, debuts at No.8 on The Billboard 200. It also debuted at No.5 at iTunes Album chart, No.5 on the Internet Album chart and No.3 on iTunes Alternative chart. The band will perform “Dark Horses,” their new Top 15 Modern Rock hit, on “Conan” on October 25th. The track was just added by Clear Channel Alternative Premium Choice, WTCL (Denver),WRFF (Philadelphia), KNDD (Seattle), WRXL (Richmond) and WVIC (Lansing).

SWITCHFOOT’s co-headlining tour with ANBERLIN is currently underway. (See below for itinerary.) After performing for a packed house at New York City’s Best Buy Theatre last week, lead singer/guitarist Jon Foreman took the show outside, performing atop a newspaper stand for thousands of people in Times Square. Along the tour route, 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 backpacksat the concerts. The backpacks will be used to distribute food and essentials to kids served by the organization.

“The War Inside,” another track from Vice Verses, can be heard in the trailer for In Time, an upcoming 20th Century Fox film starring Justin Timberlake and Amanda Seyfried. SWITCHFOOT has contributed an exclusive new song, “Out of Control,” to the just-released Hawaii Five-0 soundtrack. The track was heard in this week’s episode of the hit CBS show. You can also check out SWITCHFOOT’S recent performance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” at:

SWITCHFOOT waged a Game Day takeover of ABC, with Vice Verses tapped as the exclusive music for the Oklahoma vs. Florida State football game. ESPN hosted an exclusive stream of Vice Verses and partnered with the band to give away a trip for two to the 2012 Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA. Hurley selected SWITCHFOOT as the exclusive music for the Hurley Pro, held last month in Trestles, CA and the band performed at a recent San Diego Padres game.

Vice Verses, the eighth studio record from the multi-platinum rock band, explores the polarity of what it means to be human. “Between the dialectic of life and death we are pulled tight, stretched out like the strings of my guitar,” Jon Foreman explains in his latest Huffington Post piece, which you can read at “We are the notes dancing from the strings of time, held firm between life and death. This is the polarity of our existence, pulled tight between despair and hope, belief and doubt. We are strung tight between our birth and the grave. Humanity is dancing on the fretboard in-between. Death will one day cut the string. Until then, we live in the tension.”

It’s an adventurous collection that builds on the harder-edged sound of 2009’s Hello Hurricane and puts the rhythm section upfront, with hip-hop influenced tracks like “Selling the News,” “The Original” and “Blinding Light.”

“[The] gorgeous, swelling ‘Restless’ sounds plucked from U2’s Achtung Baby,” said Alternative Press. “But the real standout is ‘Souvenirs,’ a stunning ballad that, if there’s any justice, will go down as one of the band’s biggest hits to date.” Billboard praised Vice Verses‘ “powerful, anthemic rockers” and Relevant Magazine called it SWITCHFOOT’S “most unique” album yet.

SWITCHFOOT – comprising Jon Foreman (vocals/guitar), Tim Foreman (bass), Chad Butler (drums), Jerome Fontamillas (keys/guitar) and Drew Shirley (guitar) – recorded most of Vice Verses in the band’s San Diego, CA home studio, working with producer Neal Avron (Sara Bareilles, Weezer). 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 took home “Artist of the Year” honors at the San Diego Music Awards earlier this year and remains very connected to their hometown. Each year they host theSwitchfoot Bro-Am Presented By Hurley (, an annual concert/surf contest/silent auction. The event has raised more than $500,000 to date for San Diego-based children’s charities, including StandUp for Kids.

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)


October 6, 2011

FRANCIS CHAN Guest Post: Jesus Was Heard Because Of His Reverence

I came across this verse the other day.

“In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverence.”  Hebrews 5:7


It struck me as odd that Jesus was “heard because of his reverence.”  It has caused me to raise the level of reverence in my prayers.  I hope it does the same for you.

October 6, 2011

Christian Weekly Bestseller List For The Week Ended October 2, 2011

Heaven is for Real sits at No. 1 on the Top 20 General best-sellers list, while Beverly Lewis’ final installment of “The Rose” trilogy, The Mercy, heads the Top 10 Fiction list in the new weekly best-sellers introduced by Christian Retailing in association with the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association (ECPA). In addition, Zondervan took all five spots in Top Five Bibles, with the hardcover NIV Adventure Bible leading the list.

The Mercy also stands at No. 8 on the General list, while Francis Chan sees three titles (all David C. Cook) posted this week, Crazy Love at No. 4, Forgotten God at No. 18 and Erasing Hell, co-written with Preston Sprinkle, at No. 19.

Courageous, Randy Alcorn’s Tyndale House-published novelization of the new Sherwood Pictures’ movie, sits second to Lewis’ Amish fiction and at No. 17 on the General list. B&H Books’ The Resolution for Men by Stephen and Alex Kendrick is at No. 18.

In full, the Top 20 General list is as follows: Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo (Thomas Nelson); Every Day a Friday, Joel Osteen (FaithWords); Jesus Calling, hardcover, Sarah Young (Thomas Nelson); Crazy LoveRadical, David Platt (Multnomah Publishers); Not a Fan, Kyle Idleman (Zondervan); The Mercy (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group); One Thousand Gifts, Ann Voskamp (Zondervan); The Well, Mark Hall with Tim Luke (Zondervan); Expecting to See Jesus, Anne Graham Lotz (Zondervan); One-Year Women’s Devotional (NavPress); Jesus Calling, deluxe, Sarah Young (Thomas Nelson); Empowered Evangelicals, Rich Nathan and Ken Wilson (Ampelon Publishing); KJV Standard Lesson Commentary 2011-2012 (Standard Publishing); The 5 Love Languages, Gary Chapman (Northfield Publishing); The Resolution for MenCourageousForgotten GodErasing Hell; and Living Beyond Your Feelings, Joyce Meyer (FaithWords).

Top 10 Fiction: The Mercy (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group); CourageousThe Healing, Wanda E. Brunstetter (Barbour Publishing); The Crossing, Serita Ann Jakes (); Forbidden, Ted Dekker and Tosca Lee (Center Street); The Judgment, Lewis (Bethany House/Baker Publishing Group); Fatal Convictions, Randy Singer (Tyndale House Publishers); Learning, Karen Kingsbury (Zondervan); Code Triage, Candace Calvert (Tyndale); and A Lineage of Grace, Francine Rivers (Tyndale).

Top Five Bibles: NIV Adventure Bible, hardcover; NIV Church Bible, navy, large print; NIV Teen Study Bible, hardcover; The Story, NIV, hardcover; and The Journey, NIV, softcover.

Drawn from the ECPA’s national Pubtrack Christian store data, the lists track sales for the week ending Sept. 24.

October 6, 2011

New Christian Movie COURAGEOUS Opens With $9 Million The Best Opening Weekend Ever For the Kendrick Brothers


Sherwood Pictures’ Courageous was the No. 4 movie in the country last weekend during its opening and the No. 1 new movie. The fatherhood-themed film ranked just behind No. 1 Dolphin Tale, No. 2 Moneyball and No. 3 The Lion King 3-D.

The weekend box-office take for the Sherwood Pictures’ PG-13 drama was $9 million, $2.2 million more than its predecessor, Fireproof. With a production budget of around $2 million, Courageous opened in 1,161 theaters nationwide. Dolphin Tale opened previously in 3,507 theaters,Moneyball in 2,993 and The Lion King 3D in 2,330.

“What a great weekend for us, between Moneyball and Courageous,” said Sony Worldwide President of Distribution Rory Bruer, according to The Hollywood Reporter. “Moneyball had a tremendous hold, while Courageous, only costing $2 million to make, was a huge success. It hit home for that core audience,”

Market research firm CinemaScore gave the film a rare A+, while the film saw mixed reviews.

Frank Scheck from The Hollywood Reporter thought that Courageous revealed Alex and Stephen Kendrick’s “growing expertise as filmmakers with its skillful blending of moving drama, subtle comedy and several impressive action sequences. …

“The characters are complex and well-drawn, struggling with various personal issues that test their faith and character in believable ways. But the episodic and frequently melodramatic storyline contains enough incidents and subplots to fill an entire television season.”

The Los Angeles Times said the film “proves a particularly clunky, tunnel-visioned vehicle whose overbearing, overlong script nearly smothers the movie’s quibble-free message: Fathers must be responsible. And what of the importance of mothers here? It often feels like a case of ‘Oh, them.’ ”

The fourth film from Sherwood Baptist Church in Albany, Ga., Courageous follows the faith and fatherhood journey of four police officers.

October 3, 2011

DAVID CROWDER* BAND Announces Name of Final Album, It Will Be Called GIVE US REST


I have already  expressed my immense sadness at the breaking up of iconic and iconoclastic Christian band David Crowder Band here.  And as such I am super eager to find out whatever information I can about their final album that is slated to be released in 2012.

I just found out that their last album will be entitled, “Give Us Rest.”  According to reports the album is will drop on January 10, 2012.

DC*B also released a brand new Christmas record this week entitled, “Oh For Joy.”  I listened to some samples on iTunes yesterday and again they’ve raised the bar again with their creativity and inventiveness.

The band is currently on their final tour, the 7 Tour, and will perform their final show at Passion 2012, the annual Passion Conference led by Louie Giglio.

I don’t know if I’ll find rest with their break-up.