Archive for April, 2015

April 26, 2015

New Original Written Piece By Hervict Jacobs: “We Were Created To Live For Other People: The Day I Read Ephesians 2:10 At A Conference And How It Changed My Life Forever”

“My life is only important if [I] can help plenty people [sic].

If my life is just for me, my own security, then I don’t want it. My life is for people.”

—Bob Marley

I was born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa. I left my family and came to the States ten years ago to go to school, and after falling in love with—and marrying—a beautiful southern belle, I have remained here ever since. Every child who grows up in South Africa grows up with a deep awe and respect for Nelson Mandela. After all, he is the father of our nation, our treasure, our national hero. Everyone back home grows up with a deep affection and admiration for this man who gave up so much to secure a brighter future for all of us— and for future generations—so we would never have to suffer under the injustice of racial oppression. And I too, like all South Africans, have always had that profound admiration for Madiba, as we affectionately call him in South Africa. He was like a beloved grandfather whom you love and have heard many great things about. But only after I grew into adulthood was I able to truly appreciate the incredible sacrifice he made for me and for my generation.

Think about it: Here’s a young guy, a promising law school graduate, who was just settling into his career as an up-and-coming law professional with his own practice, and he walked away from it all to take up the fight of racial injustice. He went from living a normal life surrounded by friends and family to living as a fugitive, constantly hiding and running for his life, knowing that he could be killed at any minute. He even lost his wife, who told him if he wanted to take on the whole apartheid regime, he’d have to do it without her. With all the humility and sincerity of heart he could muster, he looked her in the eye and said he couldn’t turn back. That choice cost him his marriage. It cost him his law practice, his career, and his hopes and dreams of a stable life. From that point on, he was hunted by the South African government. All because he dared to say that human beings are equal regardless of their race or the color of their skin.

He was sent to prison for twenty-seven years for this belief and spent most of his adult life locked up, though he did nothing wrong. I remember how moved I was when reading his autobiography after I finished high school. He writes that, for him, the most painful memories of prison were when his loved ones came to visit and he wasn’t allowed to embrace or kiss them.

What would possess a man to give up everything, even his very life, for the freedom of others? In a time when almost everyone else was afraid speak out against this injustice, why didn’t he do the same and enjoy the rewards of his education and hard work? He gave up everything because he put his people and fellow countrymen who had suffered so severely above himself. And by standing up to that unjust regime, he gave an entire generation courage.

My claim to fame is that I did see him once in real life. I was nine or ten years old at the time, and he was campaigning to be the next president of South Africa. It had been just two or three years since his release from prison. His party, the African National Congress, or A.N.C., was going to hold a rally at Athlone Stadium, a local soccer stadium in Cape Town, and my dad looked at me and said, “Let’s go. We will get to witness a profound moment in history.” To this day I remember pulling up to that stadium and seeing a sea of people— on foot and in buses. The traffic was gridlocked for miles around, and it seemed like everyone was singing and chanting and celebrating. We managed to get seats in the stadium. Near the end of the rally, after he had made his speech, Nelson Mandela got on the back of a white pick-up truck and rode around the stadium slowly. He was standing on the back of the truck waving his fist in the air, and the people were losing their minds. He came within thirty feet of me. It felt like I went into a time warp as he went by. To this day I remember that moment in slow motion; though people were screaming and jumping with deafening noise, I heard only silence as I watched him wave at us. As he passed us, no one could stop smiling; we were high-fiving each other and hugging strangers. We couldn’t believe we saw Nelson Mandela in real life.

When I think about all that he suffered and everything he gave up, I can’t help but think, “Man, I don’t know if I could ever do what he did.” Never mind sacrificing my life, I don’t even like being inconvenienced. (Especially if I’m watching football.) I will gladly admire Mandela’s sacrifice from a distance, but I would never want to sacrifice something in my own life. And yet that is exactly what God asks of me: to step out of a life where I am the focus and into a life where others and their needs take precedence.

Genesis 12 records an encounter between Abram— who would later be renamed Abraham—and God that forever changed Abram’s life. It records the account of Abram’s call, when God told him to leave his family and friends to become the father of a new nation. This story is significant for many reasons, one of which is that it gives us great insight into the nature of God’s call for his people: God always calls us away from ourselves and into the humble service of others. The story opens in chapter 12, verse 1:

“The Lord had said to Abram, ‘Go from 16 your country, your people and your father’s household to the land I will show you.

‘I will make you into a great nation, and I will bless you;
I will make your name great,
and you will be a blessing.

I will bless those who bless you,
and whoever curses you I will curse;
and all peoples on earth
will be blessed through you’” (Genesis 12:1-3).

My favorite translation of verses 1 and 2 is that of the Amplified Bible, which says:

“Now [in Haran] the Lord said to Abram, Go for yourself [for your own advantage] away from your country, from your relatives and your father’s house, to the land that I will show you.

“And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you [with abundant increase of favors] and make your name famous and distinguished, and you will be a blessing [dispensing good to others].”

God’s call for Abram was to leave behind a life of self-service and enter into a life of “dispensing good to others.” Abram was living a normal life in the desert land of Haran when God called him to a life that would bless other people. In the same way, you and I were created to be a blessing to others.

Living a life that seeks to serve others is not a sentence to something we hate; rather it’s an invitation to discover our true selves, who we were made to be from the start. One of the most profound truths of the human experience is that we feel most alive and fulfilled when we’re doing something good for someone else.

This is one reason why being a parent is one of the most incredible experiences in the world, though at first glance it seems the opposite. Think about it: you have to exchange a life where you live for yourself and do whatever you want, whenever you want, for a life where you have to think about someone else before yourself, where you can’t just do what you want. Your time is no longer your own, nor is your money, and yet no other experience comes close to the joy of being a parent.

It is one of the mysteries of the human soul that we feel most alive and satisfied with life when we live for more than just ourselves. Think about the times you’ve helped somebody in your life; those are times we all remember fondly because they expose the imprint of God’s nature on our own souls. We are wired to live for others.

One of my favorite verses in scripture is Ephesians 2:10, which says, “For we are [God’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them” (NKJV). God used this verse to change my life in such a profound way that it affected how I view myself, my gifts and talents, my future, and my understanding of what my life is supposed to look like as a Christian.

When I was a junior in college, I went to a student missions conference in St. Louis. They held devotions in the hotel every morning, and I had planned on attending each one. Each morning, however, I found myself sleeping through the morning devotional time. On the third day of the conference, I was determined to make it to morning devotions. I got myself up and made my way to the part of the hotel where the devotions were held. When I got there, the place was packed with students all quietly listening to a man on stage. I slipped in and took a seat close to the door, and a girl handed me a hand-out with the Bible passage that was being studied that morning on it. It was Ephesians 2. Not really paying attention to the guy speaking on stage, I looked down at the hand-out and I started reading the passage printed on it. Beginning at verse one, Paul talks about how God saved us; that we were dead in our trespasses and sins, but we have been saved by grace—not by our own volition. And I kept on reading until I got to verse 10: “For we are [God’s] workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

That verse hit me like a ton of bricks. I saw it in a totally new way, and I was fascinated by the term “good works,” because a good work, by definition, is something you do for someone else. And we are created for good works. For the first time, I saw what that verse was saying: I was saved—“created in Christ Jesus”—to serve others—“to do good works.” My life is supposed to be about other people, not myself. God saved me so that I could serve, assist, give to, and help others. I remember reading that and thinking, “Man, that is so far from how I live.” At that time in my life, I was thinking about life after school—my career, starting a family, buying a house—and then I read that verse. It changed everything for me. It showed me that God wants me to view my life, and the way I think about my future, as a tool with which to serve other people. I realized then that I needed to change my whole perspective in order to live the life God wants for me.

© Hervict Jacobs 2015

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April 24, 2015

New Blog Post: How Failure & Rejection Reveal Our True Passions . . . via @hervictjacobs

Adversity Introduces A Man To Himself. How Your True Passions Are Revealed Through Failure & Rejection

Robert Schuller is widely credited with coining the phrase:

“What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?”

I have heard more people use this quote than I care to remember. Popular belief has long maintained that if you ever wanted to know what you’re truly passionate about in life, just ask yourself this question—and the answer will reveal your true passion.

I believe this is one of the most misguided and misleading questions you could ever ask yourself in an attempt to discover what you’re truly passionate about in life.

Here’s what I mean . . . .

continue reading over at  www.hervictjacobs.wordpress.com by clicking here.

April 23, 2015

Lauren Daigle’s New Album How Can It Be Sells 15,704 Copies In The First Week

With CCM Magazine describing Lauren Daigle as Christian music’s new “it” girl in the April issue, Daigle has lived up to that claim by reaching a record-breaking milestone in her young career. The 23-year-old singer/songwriter’s first full album, How Can It Be, debuted at No. 1 on Billboard’s Christian Albums Chart and No. 29 on Billboard’s Top 200. This also marks the highest debut week for Daigle’s label, Centricity Music. Produced by Paul Mabury and Jason Ingram, How Can It Be, had 10 of the 12 songs from the project on iTunes Top 200 Christian Songs Chart. The former EP was only available at online music outlets and Daigle’s tour dates, while the release of the full album marks the first time Daigle’s music has also been available at all retail outlets. 

“Once again, I’m standing in amazement of God’s story writing,” adds Daigle. “Proverbs 16:9 says, The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. I have held dearly to this verse ever since I was a little girl. So humbled, honored, and thankful that He has directed the steps along this journey and has brought me to places I could only dream of. God is faithful and sovereign. His promises are true and trustworthy. Thanks to everyone who supported my new album and music ministry. May the songs continue to lift up your heart to worship the Majestic Storywriter!”

Wow! What a response to an amazing artist,” exclaims Steve Ford, General Manager, Centricity Music. “I am so proud of the work Lauren has put into this record as an artist and a songwriter. This has been a debut two years in the making and has truly been a team effort. It took total focus and planning from the label, her management team at Eaglemont Entertainment and Lauren’s distribution partners at CCMG, to have a debut artist enter the chart at No. 1. It would not have happened without everyone locking arms with Lauren, but even more so it took God to bless the labor of all involved.”

Music critics are raving about Daigle’s new project with NewReleaseTuesday.com, “A worshipful masterpiece,” CCM Magazine, “the best and brightest young voices in Christian music,” JesusFreakHideout.com, “breathtaking voice,” and “inspiring worship tunes,” HollywoodJesus.com, “Powerful debut album,” Hallels.com, “Lauren Daigle is the success story of 2014,” Rockingodshouse.com, “a rare gem,” Breathecast.com, “stuns Christian music lovers with soulful voice, heartfelt lyrics & mainstream sound.” Additional press includes; YouthWalk Magazine feature story this fall, HomeLife Magazine review (August), American Family Radio/JJ& Ron In The Morning, Spirit Catholic Radio Network, Baptist Standard, KBPK/Fullerton College, David Santistevan Blog, among others.

The second single from the new album will be “First,” which will be going for adds at radio in June. Co-written by Daigle, Mabury, Ingram, Mia Fieldes and Hank Bentley, the song delivers a message of how to put God before anything else in your life. Before I bring my need/I will bring my heart/Before I lift my cares/I will lift my arms/I wanna know You/I wanna find You/In every season/In every moment/Before I bring my need/I will bring my heart/And seek You.

Daigle is currently on the road with Big Daddy Weave’s The Beautiful Offerings Tour that also features labelmate, Jason Gray. It was recently announced that Daigle will join the Outcry Tour this summer with Hillsong United, Jesus Culture, Passion, Kari Jobe, Crowder, Trip Lee, and others. The 12-city tour will launch July 24 and will run through August 7, visiting such cities as Chicago, IL, Washington, DC, Nashville, TN and Houston, TX. A major fall tour announcement will be coming soon.

For continued updates about Daigle’s new album and tour information please visit online at www.laurendaigle.comwww.facebook.com/laurendaiglemusic, and www.twitter.com/lauren_daigle.

About Lauren Daigle
Lafayette, LA native, Lauren Daigle, continued her record-breaking momentum when her first full album, How Can It Be, debuted No. 1 on Billboard’s Christian Albums Chart, April 14, 2015. She was named one of Christian music’s 2014 breakout artists with her debut EP, How Can It Be, reaching No. 1 on iTunes Christian Albums Chart and named as one of the Top 20 Christian releases last year by the online retail outlet. The title track went Top Ten at Christian radio, No. 1 on iTunes Christian Singles Chart and named by iTunes as one of the Top Christian songs of 2014. The song also earned Daigle her first music industry awards show nomination from the K-LOVE Fan Awards for Worship Song of the Year. With powerful vocals that are drawing comparisons of Adele and Amy Winehouse, Daigle has been receiving incredible album reviews with Worship Leader magazine saying, “beautiful album,” and NewReleaseTuesday.com exclaiming, “fantastic debut.” Daigle closed out 2014 by touring with Aaron Shust in the fall on his Morning Rises Tour and joining Jason Gray and Carrollton for Gray’s Christmas Stories Tour in December. She is currently on tour with Big Daddy Weave’s Beautiful Offerings Tour this spring, the Outcry Tour with Hillsong United this summer, and another major tour announcement this fall.

About Centricity Music
Centricity was founded in 2005 with a commitment to artist development and stylistic diversity. Based in Franklin TN, artists include Aaron Shust, Andrew Peterson, Jared Anderson, Jason Gray, Jordan Feliz, Lauren Daigle and Unspoken. The company’s mission is to enable their artists to create life-changing experiences for the world, by providing label, management and publishing services.