Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Numb to the radical urgency of the Gospel.

"We have become dangerously comfortable--believers ooze with wealth and let their addictions to comfort and security numb the radical urgency of the Gospel" - Francis Chan ("Erasing Hell")

I finished this book the other day and It really got me thinking.  Am I dangerously comfortable?  Do I ooze with wealth? comfort? am I obsessed with my own Security and well being?  Do I really believe what Jesus taught?  Does my life back it up?

Am I numb to the RADICAL urgency of the Gospel?

 James 1:27 says, "Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you."  (NLT)

I often think, "if this is what genuine religion is, then what am I doing".  I'm obsessed with comfort, entertainment, relaxation, and basically anything that can make my life easier.  I think it's safe to say I spend more than half my time thinking about how I can serve myself, and not others.  My constant prayer is that I would remember to think about others first.  That's half the battle.  I think I just forget that my life, my needs, my desires, shouldn't be at the top of the list.  I become Numb to the needs of others.  I should instead be asking myself, "where can I give"?  "Where is there a need that I can meet for someone else"?

Then Jesus says in Matthew 7:22-23 "On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you.  (NLT)

This is a heavy verse.  And I don't want to attempt to make any grand theological statements.  I know I can't earn my way to heaven.  It's a free gift, I get it, but this passage troubles me.  What if I'm missing the "main thing".  The reason I was created.  Could it be that the most important thing is to "know him"?  Maybe "knowing him" should come before everything else.  Maybe I should spend less time worrying about my life, and spend more time pressing into him in prayer and meditating on his word.  Maybe eveything in this life and the next will become less worrisome and trivial if I would put this one thing first.  Maybe God is more interested in knowing us, than how well we do everything else?

Every time I come across or hear this passage, I can't help but wonder, Will he know me?  And will I know him?

This passage isn't meant to terrify us.  If anything we should draw tremendous comfort and encouragement from it instead.  The creator of the universe cares deeply for each of us.  He wants us to share our life and our experiences with him, and slowly, ever so slowly, be conformed to his likeness, and find true fulfillment and purpose in Him.  

In turn, our response should be to love and serve others, and to share the hope and truth of the Gospel. 

- Jon.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

New Album "The Kingdom" Released Today!

Hello Everyone!  We've made a new record called "The Kingdom", and it releases today. (Jan. 31/12)

This is a huge deal to us because we're no longer signed to a record label.  Which means, we did this by ourselves and paid for it out of our own pockets.  With that in mind, we'd be exceedingly grateful if you chose to experience the music from one of many options available:

1 - iTunes - You likely know the drill.
It's also on iTunes Australia/New Zealand, UK, European Union, Japan, Mexico, and Latin America (incl Brazil).

2 - Digital download, directly from us, available (hopefully) anywhere in the world.  It costs $9 USD and you can pay with credit card or paypal.  You'll then be emailed a link where you can download all 10 songs.  There are no file restrictions or DRM - you can play the songs on any device, burn a CD, etc.

3 - Christian bookstores across the USA, Canada, the UK and Europe.  This is an important one to us.  If you're a purist who still enjoys picking up a product, popping it in your CD player and thumbing through the lyrics and liner notes, then we'd love for you to support the local Christian retailer near you.  If they don't carry it, perhaps politely encourage an employee at the store to order a few copies.  When you support them you support us, too.

4 - Special Edition bundle.  Get an autographed CD, a Kingdom t-shirt, and a limited-edition 8 x10 print.  And since we don't want you to wait to hear the songs, you'll also receive an instant digital download of the whole record to enjoy until the CD arrives.  This bundle costs $25 and is for those fans who want something a little special.

5 - Free/Streaming Options - if you're not ready to buy just yet, we have put up a few songs at Spotify, Rhapsody, and NoiseTrade.  
Here's the NoiseTrade link:

Monday, January 9, 2012


"While Jesus was in the Temple, he watched the rich people dropping their gifts in the collection box. Then a poor widow came by and dropped in two small coins.
 “I tell you the truth,” Jesus said, “this poor widow has given more than all the rest of them. For they have given a tiny part of their surplus, but she, poor as she is, has given everything she has.” (Luke 21:1-4 NLT)

I love this story.  There is so much theology and weight behind this simple story that Jesus recounts in Luke 21.  You have probably heard these verses before, in a church service, or a sermon on tithing, something like that.  I think that if all we get from this is that we need to give our money to the church, then we're missing the crux of the point.  This story is about stewardship.  Whether we have much or little, we must be compelled to give and to serve.  God calls us to so much more than the bare minimum, more than giving a "tiny part of our surplus".  I think the awkward thing for people in a relatively wealthy society is that we become inward focussed.  Spending all our time and energy building up wealth and pampering ourselves with often unnecessary conveniences.  I am guilty of this action, as are we all in one way or another.  I don't think God is calling all of us to give everything we have away (although this may be the case for some) but rather, we should give more than what's comfortable, or easy for us to give.  And this isn't just about money.  God has given each of us gifts and talents, and he asks us to give back to him in the same way we give money.  Not just with a little bit of effort, but with everything we have.  This can seem vague and confusing, and you're probably reading this thinking, "what does this look like for me?".  The answer is, Pray.  Ask God to reveal to you how you can give, or where you can serve, and I know the Holy Spirit will direct you.
Anyways, that's all I have for today.  Be encouraged, "you are blessed to be a blessing". (Cheezy catch phrase I know :) but so true)  - Jon.

Monday, December 19, 2011


"Disturb me, when the things I've gained cause me to lose my thirst for more of You.  Disturb me, when I've acquired success only to lose my desire for excellence.  Disturb me, when I give up too soon and settle too far short of the goals You have set for my life."

This was a quote from a devotional i have e-mailed to me every day, and it really resonated in my spirit.  The truth is, I don't want to be "disturbed".  I want easy, comfortable, calculated, safe, peaceful, lazy, as little effort as possible, free rides, a pampered life.  It is often a fight for me to complete the most simple of tasks and disciplines.  So, I guess what I'm talking about is self discipline or self sacrifice.  Kind of what Paul was talking about when he talked about making our bodies our slaves, to be a "living sacrifice".  Doing what you don't want to do for the cause of christ, as if you were working for him.  Such an easy catch phrase "Work as if you were working for the Lord".  I've heard it a thousand times, but have never really felt like it truly registered in my brain.  I long for that motivation to kick in sometimes.  That i would be driven to serve and impress my heavenly father in whatever way possible.  I suppose it all comes down to reverent, God-fearing, ambition, that drives me to excellence.

So, the prayer I prayed today was simple.  "Help me."  Teach me how to surrender my will to yours, and teach me how to be empowered, and emboldened by your spirit.  Give me passion, and ambition to live life for You.  For it is because of You that I live at all.  Disturb me."  - Jon.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

127 Hours - The Overcomer

So i finally just watched the movie 127 hours.  For those unfamiliar, it's a true story about a dude (played by James Franco) who falls into a ravine, gets stuck under a boulder, and (spoiler alert) needs to cut off his arm in order to escape...  it made me pretty emotional so i wanted to make a few comments on it... deconstruct it a little... people love an overcomer.  We love to see people beat the odds, beat circumstance, bluff their way through a bad hand dealt... that's why the world still has at the very least an 'appreciation' for characters like Jesus, or Ghandi, or Martin Luther King... overcoming is the stuff of happiness, engrained in us all... what is hope if it's not the hope to overcome something.... poverty, disease, pain, life itself... we want, need, live to overcome.  That's why we get emotional i guess... it's the inspiration to go on, and not just to go on but to try harder, to press ahead, to persevere.  Makes me think about my weekly battle to do something as simple as hitting the gym... how small the trial of pushing myself to 20 minutes on the treadmill is compared to what james franco's character was going through... life is all about the desire (or lack thereof) to live it... the problem is, we often don't have the motivation to move until it's too late... retroactive motivation never works... deathbed regret is probably the saddest thing we as humanity know.

I guess the application here is pretty simple. don't live numb to the life that surrounds you. enjoy it. laugh through it. overcome.  - Tim.

Saturday, November 5, 2011


I read the story of Zaccheus a few days ago in Luke, and It hit me in a way it hadn't before.  I felt convicted.  It wasn't that he was a "wee little man", or that he climbed up into a tree, and was persistent in his quest to see and hear Jesus.  It was the way Jesus responded to him.  With warmth and acceptance.  Now, sure, I'm not gonna invite myself over to stranger's houses whenever I feel like it, like Jesus did, but I want to reach out the way he did.  There was no pretense, or judgement on the part of Jesus.  He saw a man that wanted to be good again, despite the wrong he had done, and Jesus responded with compassion.  Jesus was attracted to honesty & humility, to people that had a blind hope that maybe, just maybe, Jesus would help them.  

I guess what I'm getting at, is that the example of Jesus in this situation is not to simply ignore and shun Zaccheus for who he was or the shady reputation he held, but rather to reach out to him with openness and warmth.  I want to be more like Jesus.  I want to recognize hopefulness in a person that feels hopeless.  The example of Jesus is that we should ignore societal barriers, and class, and reach out to others.  This might mean going against what's comfortable.  For Jesus this meant entering Zaccheus' home, eating with him, and experiencing community with him.  Jesus never condoned sin, but he loved others deeply.  That was more important to him than whether or not the company he kept seemed appropriate or acceptable to others.  

I've grown up believing that it is okay to avoid people who aren't like me, or don't have the appearance of being put together.  The older I get, the more this paradigm is crumbling.  I guess I'm learning and realizing that we are all the same.  We all want truth, acceptance, and love, and something to hope for.  My prayer is that I will see others as my brothers and sisters first, and not as outsiders.  I believe that this is how Jesus saw others.  He was drawn in by the humility and brokenness of others,  no matter who they were.   - Jon.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Led by the Spirit.

"But what God wants us to do is to “walk by faith.” How many of us have set ourselves aside as if to say, “I cannot do anything else until God appears to me”? He will never do it. We will have to get up on our own, without any inspiration and without any sudden touch from God. Then comes our surprise and we find ourselves exclaiming, “Why, He was there all the time, and I never knew it!” Never live for those exceptional moments— they are surprises. God will give us His touches of inspiration only when He sees that we are not in danger of being led away by them. We must never consider our moments of inspiration as the standard way of life— our work is our standard." - Oswald Chambers

I find myself living this way all the time.  Claiming I can't make a decision, move forward, create anything, or do anything, until I hear from God.  This is a cop-out.  God commands us, and expects us as children of God, to have faith, confidence, and persistence.  We are to walk in step with the spirit, and trust that he is guiding our decisions.  I find myself wanting God to make hard decisions for me, instead of allowing him to use a situation where I have to make a hard decision to teach me something new, or stretch me in a new way.  The most, productive, free, and respectable people I know seem to have one thing in common, they don't obsess over the will of God in their lives.  Instead, they live with confidence and freedom, trusting that God is leading them.  I think this is a life lesson that I'm yet to learn completely.  I think the key is to be in prayer and meditation every day.  Speaking and interacting with the holy spirit, and allowing myself to be transformed into a person that is full of the peace, and clarity that comes from communion with the living God.  My prayer today is that I would pray, listen, and be still more often, and that in turn my actions and decision would reflect the Holy Spirit living and breathing through me.  - Jon.