Archive for March 19th, 2012

March 19, 2012

Christian Rock Band FIREFLIGHT’s New Album Now Sells 8,000 Copies In Its First Week

 

 

Christian rock band Fireflight topped the sales charts recently with its most recent studio release, NOW (that dropped on March 6, 2012).  And the band boasted their highest sales debut to date, beating out previous first week numbers. Coming in at No. 1 on multiple sales charts, including SoundScan’s Current Contemporary Christian Overall Chart, the Rock Alternative Chart as well as the iTunes Christian & Gospel Albums chart, Fireflight latest offering sold more than 8,000 units in its debut week. This is a career best for the group, who is enjoying success at radio as well with current single “Stay Close,” also No. 1 at Christian Rock radio currently.

Fireflight supported NOW’s release amid a flurry of positive reviews from outlets including:

iTunes: “…Fireflight proves masterful at delivering sanctified anthems with shout-along choruses.”

Crosswalk.com: “…the quintet continues to bring excellence to its Evanescence-meets-Skillet sound while making subtle stylistic tweaks that move Fireflight closer to an even broader appeal.”

CCM Magazine: “Fireflight’s latest is as powerful and abbreviated as its title: NOW. Dawn Michele and company are back…”

Christianity Today: “…their [Fireflight’s] fourth full-length doesn’t stray from the tried and true: blistering guitar anthems garnished with electronics, all edged toward the epic via the massive vocals of Dawn Michele.”

JesusFreakHideout.com: “…if you’re looking for a diverse rock record with a softer side, NOW is well worth a listen.”

During street week, Fireflight also made an appearance on LeSEA Broadcasting’s original 30-minute music program “Live From Studio B.”

Asserting a new direction from the group’s previous record For Those Who Wait (2010), NOW calls listeners to move beyond their circumstances and take action. Produced by Jasen Rauch, NOW displays a new sonic focus for the band as well, built on lush electronic textures, futuristic moods and a more finely honed grasp of tender-to-titanic dynamics. Together the project’s hard-hitting message and sound make for an anthemic album.

The band’s music has been featured on E! Entertainment’s “Style Network” and in music-video reels at both American Eagle and Journey’s stores across the country. For nearly a decade, the band has remained tireless road warriors on the concert circuit averaging 140 shows a year.

Most recently, Fireflight wrapped the initial 20-city leg of its “Stay Close” tour, featuring BEC Recordings artist Rapture Ruckus and Delvin Williams. The band will pick up a second run of the tour, this time with Ashes Remain and 7eventh Time Down, mid-April. For a complete list of tour dates, visit www.fireflightrock.com.

 

 

 

March 19, 2012

Matt Redman And Christian Rapper LZ7 Release New Single 27 Million To Shine A Light On Modern-Day Slavery And Human Trafficking (VIDEO)

 

 

Celebrated worship leader and songwriter Matt Redman teamed up with British rapper LZ7 for a new song called “Twenty Million” to bring international attention to the scourge of modern-day slavery and human trafficking.  The single is released in support of the A21 Campaign which aims to combat human trafficking and slavery, with all proceeds from the single going to rehabilitating victims of sex trafficking. During it’s first day of release the single reached number 6 on the iTunes UK Singles Chart and number 1 on the Amazon MP3 Bestsellers Chart.

Written by Matt and Beth Redman with Lindz and Lucy West (LZ7), Willie Weeks and Jorge Mhondera, ‘Twenty Seven Million‘ tells the true story of a girl trafficked from Eastern Europe into London’s sex trade. The artists involved with the single hope that by getting the song into the mainstream charts they can raise awareness of the global issue of slavery.

“Every movement needs an anthem and my hope is that this single will help people pray, to give money or time,” Beth said, according to Cross Rhythms UK. “The ultimate dream is if everyone does something that figure of 27 million could be eradicated in our lifetime.”

Matt Redman shared on his website, “Society is waking up to the fact that there are twenty seven million slaves on the earth today. They are the voiceless, but we could be their voice. Please buy the single at iTunes…if we all move as one on this, together we could make some big noise about this important issue.”

Responding to the cause, people worldwide have shown overwhelming support and love for the new single.

According to A21, there are currently 1.39 million victims of commercial sexual servitude worldwide.

Human trafficking is the second largest global organized crime today, generating approximately $31.6 billion a year. Specifically, trafficking for sexual exploitation generates $27.8 billion per year.

Additionally, 90 percent of victims trafficked into the European Union member states will end up in the sex industry. Only 1 to 2 percent of victims are rescued, and only 1 in 100,000 Europeans involved in trafficking are convicted.

“We don’t need to be overwhelmed by the statistics, but rather outraged enough to do what we can,” Beth said.

By working with A21, the Redmans and LZ7 hope to awaken the church to “rise up” and bring awareness to the issue.

 An E-Card (see right) has been released to promote the single, which contains facts on the problem of trafficking, a clip of the song, details of all that’s going on around the single release as well as option for people to become a Twenty Seven Million Ambassador: using their influence to spread the word and help raise awareness about the fight against human trafficking.

To listen and buy the new single, click here.

Read more about The A21 Campaign by visiting http://www.thea21campaign.org.

 

Watch The Official Music Video Below:

 

 

March 19, 2012

ED YOUNG Guest Post: Why Integrity Should Matter So Much To Christian Leaders

 

 

We sometimes need to be reminded of why we do ministry.  The calling on my life was given to me when I was 21 years of age. There were no words that any individual could have given me to persuade me to enter the ministry, or to stay out of the ministry. When God tugged at my heart to follow Him into full time service for His kingdom, it was only because of His call.

To this day, I look back over the 28 years of ministry, and without a doubt, if my ministry work was for anyone one or anything other than God, I would not do it.  I serve an audience of One. With that being said, I want to share with you some recent media attention that Lisa and I have received.

A local reporter has spent what seems to be a great deal of time investigating me concerning my integrity as the leader of Fellowship Church.  We have not seen the piece that was aired, nor will we give credence to it by watching.  We do know that the report is scathing and creates the idea that I, along with my wife Lisa, have been dishonest in our business dealings and with our use of Fellowship Church as a means of obtaining personal wealth.

The reporter sent an email request for information, but refused to give us any details or information that he obtained from an anonymous source.  He only said that he has spoken with former staff members about us. But we have no verification of who he has spoken with.  We do not know his source(s) and it is irrelevant to us.  What we do know is that this report was made based on fragments of information gathered out of context and anonymously, and that it disregarded documented information that the Board of Directors for Fellowship Church is privy to and that is known by legal counsel and accounting audits.

The piece insinuates that I keep secrets from the congregation of Fellowship Church and that I use Fellowship Church to create personal wealth. Let me say very clearly, Lisa and I have no secrets.

My life is lived in an aquarium, and I am not ashamed of that fact.  Do I share every detail of my life with the congregation of Fellowship Church?  No.  But it isn’t because my life is secretive.  It is because there are details that the proper people know, hold me accountable to and make the decisions based on what is best for Fellowship Church and its ministries.

I have never claimed to have lived a perfect life. I do, however, claim to live a life of integrity. I don’t make that claim lightly.

Before God, the Board of Directors and the legal and financial accountants have governed the workings of Fellowship Church and its staff.  We operate in a manner that is “worthy of the calling of Christ Jesus” and have no apologies, nor would we change anything that we have done on behalf of the unbelievable ministry of Fellowship Church.

Ironically, the reporter told a Public Relations spokesperson for Fellowship Church that this story was set to air during sweeps week, as it will be of high interest.

Well, every week is sweeps week for Fellowship Church. And we will continue to do ministry with those who are far away from God in mind, and we will work tirelessly to make sure that the message of Jesus is at the forefront of everything we do.

The past 20 years have exceeded anything we could have ever imagined. Yet, at the same time, we truly believe the best is yet to come!

March 19, 2012

With Peyton Manning Reportedly Choosing The Denver Broncos Tim Tebow’s Future Uncertain

 

 

Tim Tebow’s future took an unexpected turn today when news broke that Peyton Manning had reportedly chose the Denver Broncos to be his next time.  These recent developments have caused some to pronounce that the clock has likely struck midnight on Tebow Time.

With Peyton Manning in discussions to sign a blockbuster deal with the Denver Broncos, the NFL future of incumbent quarterback Tim Tebow is in serious doubt. The crossover football star will almost certainly be traded by the team, ridding coach John Fox and John Elway of a player whose popularity and penchant for comebacks made him an albatross on their plans to mold the franchise in their own image.

Multiple outlets report that the Broncos will try to trade Tebow once the deal with Manning is finalized. He should have no shortage of suitors. He’ll never be a Manning or a Tom Brady, but in the right system, Tebow could flourish as a change-of-pace quarterback or hybrid player.

The Jacksonville Jaguars are expected to show interest. Bringing in Tebow would create buzz and sell tickets to a stadium that’s often littered with empty seats. He grew up in the state and starred in nearby Gainesville with the Florida Gators.

Another possible destination could be the New England Patriots. Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels drafted Tebow to the Broncos in 2010, the team has a surplus of draft picks and Bill Belichick has that “crazy as a fox” reputation that would enjoy the hoopla of trying to make Tebow fit into an offense with Tom Brady. The coach was complimentary of Tebow before New England’s blowout playoff win over the Broncos. Of course, that praise could have been a Belichickian power play — praise the guy who stinks and nobody will accuse you of underestimating the opponent.

And it wouldn’t be a quarterback derby if the Miami Dolphins didn’t get involved, then fail to land their target.

Denver could also choose to keep Tebow, though that seems to be an untenable stance. The Manning circus will be big, but not big enough to keep Tebow under its tent.

March 19, 2012

Louie Giglio, Andy Stanley, Perry Noble And Other Pastors Share How They Prepare Their Messages

 

 

How do preachers, particularly megachurch pastors, prepare for sermons every week? Where do they get their ideas? Do they ever get nervous? And how do they deal with both criticism and praise?

Those are some of the questions that a group of well-known pastors responded to during a webcast Thursday that was designed to help pastors across the country preach better sermons.

According to Casey Graham, founder of PreachingRocket.com, which led the event, 90 percent of unchurched people choose a church based on the pastor or preaching. And 92 percent of people return to a church because of a sermon.

With that, the preachbettersermons.com event was launched to provide insights into the way some of the country’s most influential pastors do what they do and to provide a community in the lonely world of preparing and preaching sermons.

Ideas and Sermon Preparation

NewSpring Church Pastor Perry Noble advised the thousands of pastors watching online to begin with the Word of God and not a VH1 video or popular song.

“Let the text, the Bible drive the sermon. Don’t say I saw a video on VH1 and I want to establish a sermon around that,” the South Carolina megachurch pastor exhorted. “The Word of God has to be where it starts. I’m so passionate about that.”

Noble, whose church is getting ready to launch its eighth campus, said nearly every idea that he has preached on for the past five years came out of his quiet time. He made it clear, however, that his quiet time with the Lord is not sermon prep time.

“But while I’m reading the Bible to try my best to hear the voice of God, if something pops in my mind, I write it down,” he explained.

“A preacher preaches best when he preaches out of the overflow of his heart. I really want to try my best to communicate that idea that God set my heart on fire with.”

Already, he has enough thoughts written down that he can create sermons for the next year and a half, he said.

For Charles Stanley, who has been preaching for 55 years, his ideas come from asking “What’s the need of the people who are going to be listening?”

The veteran pastor, whose sermons are broadcast around the world through In Touch Ministries, developed a little saying that some, including his son Andy Stanley, cite: “Until a preacher has as burden for the message, he’s not ready to preach.”

“I realized I needed to have on my shoulder – spiritually – the weight of what God has in mind. What does He want to accomplish in this message? … I’m preaching for an impact, not to impress anybody but just impact. I want to see their life change,” he explained.

Essentially, the feeling a pastor should have is: “I must preach this message, I have to preach it, I can’t wait to preach it,” he described.

While Stanley typically begins preparing for his sermon a week ahead and makes sure that is the only thing on his mind between Saturday and Sunday, Noble likes to plan much farther ahead – by several months.

With his sermons consisting not only of preaching but also of videos, illustrations and other elements, Noble likes to give his Creative Team time to prepare.

“One of the things I’ve discovered about preaching is … preaching is relatively easy if all I’ve got to do is read a text and apply it. But today … there’s so many creative elements around it,” he said during the “Preach Better Sermons” webcast.

“We all serve each other. The way I serve our Creative Team, Worship Team, and Video Team, is try my best to plan as far ahead as possible … Then everybody can give their best effort possible. They don’t serve me, we serve each other.”

Andy Stanley, lead pastor of North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Ga., also chooses to prepare his sermons more than a week in advance.

“I can’t live that way,” he said of last-minute preparations.

Do Megachurch Pastors Get Nervous?

When it comes to getting up in front of thousands of people on a large stage every week, Stanley of North Point doesn’t believe nerves should be in play.

“When a preacher or teacher is nervous, it’s all about them,” he stated. “I can’t be concerned about me … and be concerned about them. I’m going to walk out there concerned about that group … or about me. [It] can’t be both.”

“If you’re nervous … you’re really not ready,” he stressed.

Rather than evaluating success based on how well the congregation applies what is preached, the pastor who is concerned and nervous ends up basing success on how well he or she did, Stanley noted.

“Don’t get up there so you can feel like you did a good job … don’t just cover the material,” he advised. “Walk out there with that person in mind.”

That person may be a teen who’s giving church a try one last time or (for Stanley) a middle-aged man who was dragged to church by his wife.

“Make sure it’s about them and not about you,” he exhorted.

The elder Stanley, Charles, also said he never gets nervous on Sunday morning. Rather, he’s more excited to preach what God wants him to say.

Dealing With Criticism

Citing Seattle pastor Mark Driscoll, Noble said pastors have many foes, fans and then very few friends.

“He said you’ve got people that think you’re worse than you really are, [those who think] you’re better than you really are, and some people who will tell you the truth.”

Noble chooses not to listen to the “foes.”

He also doesn’t listen to the “fans” – who will always tell the pastor “great job.”

Instead, he listens to friends – who love Jesus first, the church second and the pastor third.

“They’re willing to speak the truth to you so … ultimately it’ll edify the church,” he noted.

Other speakers featured in the webcast included Louie Giglio of the Passion movement, Judd Wilhite of Central Christian Church in Las Vegas, Dan Cathy, president and COO of Chick-fil-A, and Pastor Vanable H. Moody II of The Worship Center Christian Church in Birmingham, Ala.