In the last couple weeks, I have watched some dear friends in different circles go through the horror of losing their dads. I can’t imagine the brutal reality that wakes them every morning… but I do know with certainty that both of their dads have gone home to glory with the King of Kings forever and ever.
I realize that not everyone has this hope of seeing their dads in heaven, or maybe you do, but life just seems completely hopeless and dark. Maybe it seems like there is no way out and all the trust and love you’ve built up is all for waste… But let me assure you that these thoughts are the farthest from the truth.
Here is the truth: “God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea… There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.” Psalm 46:1-4
This world is full of problems, tragedies, hardships, and failures, but there is a Savior, Jesus Christ, whose Spirit of Life gives true joy to the hearts of the believers, where the Most High dwells. God is with you so don’t give up, my friends! He will rescue you just at the break of dawn. Don’t try to fight this world by yourself any longer. “The Lord will fight for you; you need only be still.” Exodus 14:14
My deepest sympathies go out to the Sones family and the Bond family! Your loss is mine. I love you very dearly.
With unshakeable hope,
Everybody has something that they get “fired-up” about. Whether it’s a touchdown in the final minutes of a game, an “A” on the exam of your worst subject, the perfect goodnight kiss with a super hot date, or the look on someone’s face who truly didn
’t expect your gift, we all have those moments that just make us want to jump off the edge of a waterfall in slow-motion with Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus” playing in the background… Sorry, I’m just a very visual person, but the truth is, we give so much of our energy, passion, and zeal to praising the creation and not the creator.
The reason why I’m writing you today is the same reason why I wrote a new song called “Who We’re After” that I’m releasing today on iTunes and other digital platforms.
I was sick of being so “fired-up” to go watch the Florida Gators score a few touchdowns on Saturday and then be twiddling my thumbs as I walked into church the next morning for praise and worship. I was disgusted at how I could lift up my hands and shout repetitively at a rock show but couldn’t even move my feet during the first couple upbeat praise songs at a Wednesday night service. I started questioning myself, “Do I not believe that God created the rock stars and celebrity athletes in His image? Because if I really believed that, wouldn’t I definitely give Him more glory at a service dedicated to him?”
As this conviction was building inside my chest, a new song started brewing deep within me singing, “Lift up your hands to the One who is worthy… Give up your heart to the great King of Glory…” It seemed to ease the inner conflict as I sang it more and more.
It’s so beautiful how true worship softly exposes the sin in our lives. In my case, it was the fact that my priorities were all out of whack. The God who “knew us from the start – who formed our every thought” was playing second fiddle in my life.
At that moment of unworthiness, I repented and ran back into the merciful arms of Jesus Christ, who died for us and scattered our sin as far as the East is from the West so that we can live forever with Him. For this reason, there is NOTHING in heaven or on earth that deserves more of our energy, passion, and zeal than that which we give to our Maker.
I hope that you can rock out to this song in every season of your life!
Buy Who We”re After on iTunes HERE
For His glory,
I’ve received some emails already about the inspiration behind “You Are With Me,” so I figured I would take a couple minutes to share this crazy story of how the song came to be…
Over the Christmas holidays, I finally got a much-needed vacation w
ith my family out west – Better yet, in the Teton Mountains of Wyoming. Just after two days of insane snowboarding, apple ciders, and fireside board games, my pops fell deathly ill with an intestinal blockage in the middle of the night. My mom rushed over to the room I was sleeping in and woke me up with this scenario:
1) It”s 3:00am in the morning with zero visibility
2) A massive winter storm has just rolled into the valley with extreme blizzard conditions
3) “Your father just said for the first time, ‘Take me to the hospital!’”
4) The nearest full-service hospital is an hour and a half away over the jagged Teton Mountain pass
Like most people, I was immediately consumed with fear and doubt. How much pain is he in? Is there any emergency center on this side of the mountain range? How will our Toyota SUV function in -10 degree temperatures with icy roads? …Is my dad gonna die in Wyoming?
Then, my instincts kicked in as I started recalling the promises of God. Psalm 23:4 – “Though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for You are with me.” Psalm 34:4 – “I sought the Lord, and he answered me; he delivered me from all my fears.”
Only by the grace of God, we steered that piece of metal over the pass and into Jackson Hole, where we were greeted with even worse news – he now had a bulging hernia that was visible to the eye. Furthermore, the surgeon wanted to operate on him immediately.
Quite frankly, we had NO peace about the doctor”s recommendation, and we started praying even more vigorously for a miraculous healing. Then, we started BELIEVING in a miraculous healing. Then, after one night in the hospital, reports came back that my dad”s blockage had dissipated and there was no reason to keep him in the hospital. We were beyond excited.
As we drove him back to the cabin that day, the air was filled with amazing stories of the healing that had taken place in my dad. The following month, I co-wrote a song called “You Are With Me” that was birthed out of this story. The lyrics are below…
There are times in the dark when I’m hopeless
When I doubt that the sun will ever rise
There are times I am lost in the madness
When I hold all my worries deep inside
But never will you leave me
Never will you change, oh God
Let hope arise
In the dead of night
When my heart is weak
You are with me
All fear aside
Even though the waters rise
My heart will sing
You are with me
Where could I ever hide from your presence?
What could I ever do without your light?
Oh your love is the strength when I’m weary
So I will run to the cross that brings me life
Cause never will you leave me
Never will you change, oh God
No height, no depth
No power of darkness
Nor life, nor death
Could ever separate me
From your love
From your love
By the way, when my family returned from vacation, not a single doctor could find a trace of the hernia that I had seen with my own eyes in Wyoming…
Do you ever wonder what big things God could do with your life if you truly gave it all to Him? I’m not talking about attending church every Sunday morning or wearing a cross necklace every day; I’m talking about giving God your love-life, your fi
nances, your career, your talents, your “living the dream” lifestyle, your Facebook friends, your coffee addiction, and everything else you hold dear. For God has promised you that He will always give back more than what you could ever ask or dream of.
In Luke 6:38, Jesus says, “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.”
About one year ago, I had just been hired by the #1 TV station in Jacksonville. I was extremely thankful to have a “suit ‘n’ tie job” right out of college, but at the same time, my heart was broken with the lack of hours I had to continue the level of musical commitments I maintained during college. I knew that my parents liked the idea of me taking the conventional road to financial security so I did everything in my power to maintain this job while fulfilling my passion to play music at different church events each night. As you can imagine, I became exhausted, broke and without a purpose, as I refused to give God what He wanted.
One of these nights, I was driving home from a Christian radio event, and I broke down in prayer before God. I started yelling, “What do you want from me, Lord?! Why can I not feel your peace anymore?! Can you not see that I need you! I want to feel your embrace again! I want to sense your favor on my life again! Please, God!” Right at that point, I hear a startling woop-woop as a cop had just flicked his lights on to pull me over… I stared at the lights in my rear view mirror with watery eyes as I verbalized in an ironically calm manner, “Are you serious, God?” I began to steer my truck to the side of the road with an embittered smirk on my face when everything finally clicked. I Php Aide suddenly online blackjack realized my biggest problem and shouted, “God, I give you my life! Take control of this mess – my job, my music, my dreams – You have it all now! I surrender everything to your plans for my life! You know what’s best for me…”
As the officer walked up to my truck, I rolled down my window to hear his first question, “Son, where are you coming from?” I responded, “From a Christian radio event downtown, sir.” He paused then smiled and asked, “So, you’re telling me, if I let you out of this ticket, you’ll come lead worship at my church this Sunday?” I didn’t hesitate. “Uh, yes sir.” The officer didn’t even hear me finish before continuing, “Son, I believe God wanted us to meet for a reason tonight…” From that point on, he proceeded to explain how God had told him I was going through a rough college transition, but I needed to be patient because God had big plans in store for my future – too wild to comprehend. The best part about this is that the same promises of God apply to you!
Nobody can claim to know God’s plans for your life as you go through the life-long process of surrendering to Him, but you can rest assured that whatever you give to God will be given back to you, “pressed down, shaken together and running over.”
By His grace,