I thought you might be interested in adding some Loft to your day. A new playlist brand launched this week called ^Loftr With six new Spotify playlists, there is a little something for a wide range of musical taste. The playlists are curated collections of music created by Believers and include music from some mainstream artists who have been vocal about their faith and some faith-based artists that you may not be aware of.
And speaking of adding loft to your day, do you have a daily regiment to help usher you into the presence of Jesus? Everyone is different but I’ve found filling my mind with prayer, reading and music about the God of our universe, sets the stage for how my day will flow. I long to feel his presence throughout my day no matter what tasks I may be tackling. When I fail to welcome Jesus into my day, I feel disconnected and my day doesn’t go so well. I’d love to hear from some of you. What do you do to Lift your day?
For the past five years, my wife and I have done a 21 day Daniel Fast. We try to begin on January 2 with a two-fold purpose. 1) Jump start healthy eating habits after the holidays 2) To listen and hear what God has to say about the coming year. The first week is always the toughest as my body detoxes from sugar. But I’ve found week 2 and 3 to be a great time to listen to God. I can’t think of a better way to begin a new year than hearing from God.
As I go through the fast, I make notes on the various things I hear from God. I specifically pray about life direction, sharing Jesus with others, my marriage and our management company. Throughout the year and at the end of the year I review the notes and I am always amazed at how God is working his plan in all aspects of my life.
Do you have a method in place to help drown out the noise of the world and listen to God? I’d love to hear how you seek God’s direction for your life each year.
Peace is something so many in the world find elusive. Some protest for peace, some fight wars for peace, some give their lives for peace and others just dream of peace. Ironically, the answer to peace has been looked over for 2000 years. Spoken word/alternative hip-hop artist, TAL, uses his platform well crafting words in order to share the Good News of peace with all.
What an incredibly strange year we have experienced with the US Presidential election! I’ve read about crazy elections in our past but the one we just experienced felt a bit like war. While the huge division and disfunction in our country was exposed, something even bigger revealed itself.
I talk a great deal about platforms and stages, with primary focus being on creatives. However, politicians are given some of the biggest platforms. As platforms for presidential candidates grew, the monster was feasting on ego and pride. A handful of candidates professed to be Christians, but as we watched the debates it was difficult to see Jesus as they ripped each other to shreds.
Unfortunately, I’ve witnessed similar behavior amongst Christian artists vying for the top of the charts. While smiles don their faces in public, conversations backstage, in green rooms and on tour buses are laced with jealousy, pride and ego. If we are all on a quest to make Jesus famous shouldn’t we lift one another up as brothers and sisters in Christ? Imagine the size of the platform if everyone joined together, shared success with all and offered a helping hand to the less successful?
There is only room for one at the top and his name is Jesus. Let’s join together and make him famous!
This week is Christian music accolade week or better known as the GMA Dove Awards. Last night, some artists took home a prestigious Dove Award while others went home empty handed and maybe feeling a bit rejected.
Let’s face it, most of us want to be recognized for our achievements and accomplishments? I know I do. The amazing thing is that God recognizes us regardless of whether we have trophies on our wall or not. When we are about his business of carrying out The Great Commission, we are heroes to him. Music is a powerful tool and the Holy Spirit often utilizes it to draw listeners to Jesus.
Today, lets celebrate both the winners & those who didn’t win at last night’s GMA Dove Awards show. When one person finds Jesus through hearing a Christian song, the entire Christian music industry should celebrate. The Christian music industry was originally designed for one common purpose of carrying out The Great Commission!
Please join me in praying specifically for two things this week.
1) For the GMA Dove Winners and that they would be humbled by the recognition, that God would prevent the monster from boosting their ego and that they would be even more energized to continue taking God’s message to the world!
2) For those who didn’t win an award and that God would prevent the monster from making them feel like a failure and fill their heart with jealousy. That God would remind them to recognize that anyone carrying out The Great Commission is a winner in his eyes.
Undoubtedly, we live in the new world order of social media. Most everything we do in life is centered around building kingdoms of Followers and Likes on social media. Even Bible Study groups use Facebook to stay in touch with one another and to quickly deliver messaging. Our daily lives have become so busy that we now depend on social media to keep us connected.
For those who work on a stage, connection is even more important. Music artists, speakers, authors and even pastors have been drawn into the emphasis and importance of one’s following. Record companies, book publishers, booking agents and event programmers demand big followings in order to do business with music artists, authors, speakers and pastors. That in turn can create an unhealthy emphasis on one’s number of followers.
I would encourage all of us to examine our focus. Are we more concerned about following Jesus than we are about building a following? Do we have faith that God will bring the audience he desires to hear the message we are proclaiming? Are we kingdom building or building kingdoms?
Last week I was out on a college tour with two of our artists. The tour is making stops at a number of Christian universities over the next couple of months. During the week I experienced two contrasting scenarios.
One of the universities has a very strict conservative policy about what they allow on stage for concerts during their convocation services. They require their students to dress up, cover any tattoos and remove all nose rings etc. In order to be consistent, they ask any musician entering their stage to do the same. The Dean of Students noticed one of our musicians had a tiny diamond stud nose ring and another was wearing an earring at the top of his ear lobe. The Dean asked me if I could have them removed before our band took the stage. A brief conversation with our artist resulted in instant compliance. I was so proud of our team for acting quickly to acquiesce to the Dean’s wishes without hesitation. I think the Monster (ego, pride) was successfully starved that evening.
At another university stop, we had asked for a local acoustic opener in order to create an opportunity for a student musician. We had limited inputs, limited soundcheck time and our desire was to create an experience that transitioned from acoustic to a fully plugged in band. Discovering they had picked a student band, I had a phone conversation with the leader of the band about the acoustic nature of performance we were looking for. The student didn’t like the acoustic nature as they normally play fully plugged in but he committed to figuring it out. Unfortunately, the student band showed up at soundcheck as a fully plugged in band. While the student was blatantly ignoring our wishes, we let it slide and didn’t address the situation. After sound check, the student approached me to ask if we were all good with his defiance. I explained why we had asked for acoustic and asked him why he didn’t comply. With no real answer, he then committed that they would stay within their 10 minute set time we had agreed on. His band then preceded to go 14 minutes instead of the 10 minutes he had just committed to. While it may seem trivial, this artist broke his commitment twice in an effort to grab what he thought was a better presentation and stage time for his band. After leaving the university, I emailed the student to share our disappointment in his broken commitment and to encourage him to re-think his actions with future music opportunities. The student apparently didn’t appreciate the encouragement and forwarded the email to some of the University staff. Instead of addressing the student’s integrity issue, the university staff, choosing to protect the student’s ego feeding behavior, was upset with me for sending the email. What an incredible teaching opportunity the University staff missed. The Monster (ego, pride, entitlement) was well fed at this university stop.
While it is impossible to get it perfect, our Christian universities certainly have major influence on the Monster that so badly wants to control the next generation of adults. Would you join me in praying for protection and wisdom over our Christian universities as they mold the next generation?
If you are like many Americans, you found yourself glued to your TV over the last couple weeks watching the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Brazil. While Americans picked up 121 medals, it was interesting to see winners from multiple countries giving glory to God. Olympic winners are given an incredible platform as every media outlet in the world wants to grab a interview with the winners. We have seen American gold medal gymnast, Gabby Douglas, speak about her faith in Jesus over the last four years and it was nice to see so many others join her in sharing their faith at this year’s Olympic games.
Simone Manuel, the first African-American woman swimmer to win gold – “All Glory to God. Isn’t he awesome!”
American gold medalist Maya Dirado – “I don’t think God really cares about my swimming much. I think God cares about my soul and whether I’m bringing his love and mercy into the world”
Ethiopian gold medalist Almaz Ayana – “I pray to the Lord. The Lord has given me everything. My doping is in Jesus”
American women’s triathlon gold medalist Gwen Jorgenson – “I really think you just have to keep God as your focal point and know that he is always number one. When you do that it will help you gain perspective on everything in life-not just endurance sports”
“We both know our identity is in Christ” – Mens diving silver medalist David Boudia says about he and fellow American diver Steele Johnson
How are you using your platform to make Jesus famous outside the church?
I hope you have been enjoying the last nine weeks of reading Creating Monsters for free. We are halfway through the book with nine chapters remaining. This week we are taking a break to celebrate Easter, the most important moment in history.
Have you ever contemplated what our future would be if the stone was never rolled away and if the angel never appeared to say “Jesus is not here?” Noah Cleveland explores those questions in the incredibly emotional song, My Savior Lives which he wrote with Tony Wood. This song causes one to pause, reflect and remember how important the death and resurrection event is for our future. Without that event, how could we be saved? I am so thankful as I reflect on this magnificent gift we are given!
Below is a video trailer for My Savior Lives. I encourage you to take a minute and view it.
Available on iTunes, Spotify, Amazon and most other digital outlets.
So many of us humans chase fame. If we are honest, probably every single one of us possess a desire to be known. Something deep in our soul drives us to pursue high profile careers, record contracts, Youtube views, Facebook Likes, number 1 songs, Heisman trophies, community status and countless other honorable positions. The ironic thing is that the most famous person to ever walk the earth had no desire for any of those things.
The role model of fame had no earthly possessions. He had no website, no Facebook account, no Instagram account. He never won an election, a baseball game, scholarship or talent contest. He never secured a single radio add, Dove Award or Grammy. He wandered the earth with no wheels, no crib, and no iPhone.
The most famous person of all time didn’t pursue fame. He was merely born to die for us.
Happy Birthday Jesus!