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JFH Staff Blog | November 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

I feel like an idiot

Ever hear a new band, only to dismiss it for sounding like another band that you oh-so-badly do not enjoy in the slightest?

I must have been in a bad mood the day I first heard Capital Lights.  It was either that, or I only listened to "Outrage", which is the worst song on This Is An Outrage!.  (Maybe even knowing that they cover Hannah Montana in concert, which is just insulting to me).  I don't really know what it was that made me not like them.  But last weekend, my girlfriend was in town, and she knows I didn't like them (except their Christmas song that I told her about and she liked), but she had the entire album on her iPod, and she asked me to at least listen to their song "Mile Away".  So I did, and I thought, "Well, it's not terrible".  Then it got stuck in my head so I eventually bought the song on iTunes and fell in love with it.  Then I decided to listen to the rest of the album, and decided that, with the exception of "Outrage", it was a very good album.

Before: I hated Capital Lights.
Now: This Is An Outrage! is on my JfH Staff Picks of 2008.

Haha, I feel like an idiot.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Part 2- Paying through the Nose (FRIENDSHIPS)

"Casual neglect leads to catastrophic loss." I read this out of Ken Gire's book Window's of the Soul years ago. I haven't forgotten it.
King Solomon says it this way, "I passed by the field of a sluggard, by the vineyard of a man lacking sense, and behold, it was all overgrown with thorns; the ground was covered with nettles, and its stone wall was broken down.  Then I saw and considered it; I looked and received instruction.  A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest and poverty will come upon you like a robber and want like an armed man" (Proverbs 24:30-34).
Got any friendships that you've been neglecting?  Has the passage of time and lack of attention brought thorns and overgrowth of nettles and broke down walls in those relationships? Casual neglect can lead to catastrophic loss. Outside of Christ I can think of no other gift to the soul than family and friends. For now, let's go with friends. This is what I tend to neglect the most. I tend devote so much time, energy, anxiety, and resources toward people or groups of people whom a year or ten years from now I will never see or hear from again. But who will really matter when the lights go off in my world, sickness slams into my life, and the years creep up and over into my life? What about you?  Who will matter then? Who will look out for you? Provide for you? Care for you? Will your Degree matter? Your career? Your sport? Your TV? Your music? Your Wii? Your ministry? No. I'll tell you who will matter: Your family and true friends will matter then. But do they truly matter to you now? Why should we commit and devote more elsewhere than to those to whom we really matter and who really deep down matter to us?

I can do so much better as a friend.  I was convicted about this over Thanksgiving.  I deeply love my friends.  If I was truly thankful for my friends and loved them as deeply as I say, it would be revealed by how much I invest time and energy in them. I have allowed the walls to crack and nettles and thorns to grow between us. And when I say "friends" I'm not talking about Facebook or Myspace friends. I'm talking about those few friends that you do life with, whether in the everyday or by long distance. 

I'm sure you've heard of Mr. Bill O'Reilly. Fan or not, his words concerning friendships ring true to me. I read them years ago in his book, The O'Reilly Factor: The Good, the Bad, and the Completely Ridiculous in American Life.  Here 'tis:
"I make demands on my friends. I insist that my friends be loyal and keep their promises. I work hard to show that I am loyal to my friends, and I keep promises to them. If they think I let them down, I want to hear about it.  And vice-a-versa.  I expect friends to be friends and keep the friendship energy up---even when their circumstances change and their attention goes elsewhere. . . .  {W]e all need good friends.  Not people who supply with cocaine, or tell you what you only want to hear, or are interested in what you HAVE. No, you need people who are responsible, loyal, caring, and who are available and interested in what you are going through.  Such people are rare, and like all they rest of us they have their downsides.  But if you find a friend who earns your trust, hold on forever. Your life will be richer." (My emphasis) To have a close friend I have to be a close friend. I've realized lately that I'm investing more time and energy in things that truly don't matter as much as those whom I love, who love me, and who are committed to me to the end.  I want to be a better friend. What about you?


Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Paying through the nose (Part 1)-- The body

There are things we unintentionally and casually neglect in the now that we may pay through the nose for later. I remember when I was younger---teen and twenty-something---I didn't really get this.  I had an underlying "Immortality of youth" belief. In other words, I never paused to consider how habits, behaviors, and actions would affect my body, mind, opportunities, relationships, and Spirit, later on in life. I still have a hard time doing so in many instances.   
In terms of my body, when younger, I was a partier. I abused alcohol and smoked cigarettes. I ate a lot of pizza and Krystal burgers. I exercised by default because I was an athlete. But I didn't get enough sleep, ever. Now, I've struggled with overeating, eating/drinking too much sugar, drinking too much caffeine, not getting enough sleep. Exercise is a battle too.  As a result I have had issues physically and mentally. My habits and behavior have affected my energy, mood, thinking, emotions, and perspective of life and even God. At times, I get cravings for nicotine and alcohol and a lot of sugar---mostly when I'm down or overwhelmed and want to escape it all. 
My wife has helped me tremendously in these areas. She is very holistically health conscious. Her motto is "everything in moderation." I try to eat until just a little over satisfied (yeah, I'm working on this one). I might drink a soda once a week. I rarely eat sugar except on special occasions, or when out with friends, or at parties. Cigarettes now make me sick (thank goodness). I'll have a glass of wine maybe once a month (Jesus turned water into wine, not kool-aid). I eat a lot of fish. I take a lot of vitamins. 
The Apostle Paul says, "You may say, 'I am allowed to do anything.' But I reply, 'Not everything is good for you.' And even though 'I am allowed to do anything,' I must not become a slave to anything.  You say, 'Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food.' This is true, thought someday God will do away with the both of them. . . . [Our bodies] were made for the Lord, and the Lord cares for our bodies" (1 Corinthians 6:12-13).
That's huge. Christ cares not only for our souls but also our bodies. He died to redeem our souls, minds, wills, and bodies. I have sought to dedicate and commit my body---and the habits and behaviors that affect it---to Christ.  I want Christ to be all, even in my body.  He is the only hope for my body, and the strength comes from Him to honor Him with my body. 
What are you doing with your body. Better yet, what could you be doing to your body? How have you been affected? How are you seeking to honor God with your body in these areas? 
I'd love to know a bit of your experience in this area. 

Monday, November 24, 2008

We Recommend - Third Day, 'Revelation'

This week, since I've been going back in time a lot lately to some 90's or early 00 releases, I thought it might be appropriate to look back on 2008 a bit. First off, congratulations are in order to Third Day who took home an American Music Award last night (for "Favorite Contemporary Inspirational")! And with the release of their latest studio album, Revelation, this past July, we want to spotlight it as one of the highlights of the 2008.

After Third Day went edgier for their album Wire, they took a more the pop/contemporary route for the less favorable (but still had some highlights), Wherever You Are. Their latest, Revelation, returns the band to more of a rock format and they haven't sounded quite this good in some time! Kind of imagine if their 1999 release Time was a little edgier throughout, with mainstream quality production as well, and you have an idea of where Revelation lies in the Third Day anthology. It's also very refreshing to have the honest in a track like the title song. The chorus especially strikes a chord with me:

Give me a revelation
Show me what to do
‘Cause I’ve been trying to find my way
I haven’t got a clue
Tell me should I stay here
Or do I need to move
Give me a revelation
I’ve got nothing without you

So... Anyone else pick this one up yet? Let us know if you recommend it!

Third Day
Revelation (2008)

Click here for TWO JFH Staff Reviews.

Our synopsis: "Third Day is at the top of their game with this encouraging collection of southern rock anthems for the Christian walk." (Recommended by JFH's John DiBiase)
Perfect For: Encouragement through uncertain times, faith, confidence
Song Highlights: "Revelation," "This Is Who I Am," "The Otherside," "Slow Down," "Call My Name"

So, what are your thoughts on and experiences with the album Revelation? Do you recommend it? If so, why?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Give Us YOUR Top 15 FAVORITE Albums!

This week, the JFH staff announced their personal Top 15 Christian market releases of all time (key word is "favorite" -- some seem to have missed that important part. ). So with our sharing of our top 15 lists, it seems only fair for you all to get a chance to list your Top 15 Favorite Christian albums of all time too! Without explanations for each one, feel free to list your Top 15 in the comment field below and share with everyone which records YOU would pick as your Top 15! Just list them as Artist, Album and (year). Like this:

1. DC Talk - "Jesus Freak" (1995)

Cool? Happy listing!


Sabbath Fear

I’m not any busier than anyone else. It’s just that I am afraid. I’m afraid of resting. I lack courage to rest. Things are never done. I never feel any closure nor do I ever feel caught up.

Odd that rest takes courage. Courage to walk away with things undone.  Courage to risk not being prepared for something.  Courage to frustrate or offend people because you are not available.   Courage to face the mounds of “to-do’s” the day after. Courage to just be alone with God… and yourself.

You need courage?  Me too. I risked and took a day of rest yesterday. I had to fight pre-occupation with all of my undone stuff, projects that screamed for attention, events calling for further prep, possible missed calls, and so forth.  I had to fight fear.  

Is it just me? Why are we so afraid to rest? I’m a little baffled at myself. I guess if we don’t act like we’re busy, or keep ourselves busy, we worry what people might think of us. Like we have the good life or something if we rest. Or if we don’t keep ourselves busy, we might not like what we find about ourselves, or what God might have to say to us.

Still God commands us to rest. We don’t have to be afraid. It’s just right. It’s healthy–physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. God rested on the 7th day too. 

Get creative. Take a day. And just be. And just be with Him. It takes courage. But even more so, it takes trust. It takes trust in the Lord of the Sabbath to take care of things left undone.  Takes trust in the Lord to have you prepared for the project ahead. Takes trust in the Lord to take care of the frustrated people you didn’t call back. Takes trust in the Lord to deal with the people who may judge your rest. If God says we can rest then that is enough.    

Take courage! Go get some rest.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

He Pled the Cause of the Afflicted

For the last couple of months we have been able to partner with several different groups of remarkable people who have worked at raising awareness for various needs.  In Eureka, CA, we did an event w/ some people raising funds for child soldiers in Uganda. 

In Bend, Oregon, and Lake Stevens, Washington, we did events to raise awareness and support for families in the area dealing w/ cancer.  We have been humbled to be able to work alongside of such people and seeing them work gives me a sense of urgency in my own life to make these sort of things not just something I do but something that becomes a part of who I am.

There is a phrase written by the Hebrew prophet Jeremiah that has really impacted me lately.  "He pled the cause of the afflicted and needy; then it was well.  'Is not that what it means to know Me?' declares the Lord."  The idea of knowing God is something that is very attractive to me, and finding out that somehow it is tied up in loving our neighbors (according to Jeremiah) kind of takes me off guard.  But then I read that Jesus said similar things 'I tell you the truth, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.'

Bono (a hero of mine) says "God is in the slums, in the cardboard boxes where the poor play house. God is in the silence of a mother who has infected her child with a virus that will end both their lives.  God is in the cries heard under the rubble of war. God is in the debris of wasted opportunity and lives, and God is with us if we are with them."

So what am I doing today to plead the cause of the afflicted and needy?

Monday, November 17, 2008

We Recommend - Project 86, 'Drawing Black Lines'

This week, we've released the JFH staff's Top 15 Albums of All Time. One of the titles that shows up on several of the lists is hardcore / rock band Project 86's 2000 sophomore album, Drawing Black Lines. For me, this is the album that got me into the band and would remain my favorite full album from them to this day. As well as containing one of my favorite songs by them ("Stein's Theme"), it's solid from beginning to end, including bold songs of faith as well as haunting anthems that even tackle such sensitive topics as pornography ("PS"). "Me Against Me" is one of those songs many believers who fight the sinful nature can relate to, while the infectious "One Armed Man (Play On)" rips into the party scene to expose its ugly side. Project has gone on to record several stellar record since then, but Drawing Black Lines has less bitter angst than the delectible Songs To Burn Your Bridges By and feels more cohesive stylistically than their latest, Rival Factions. I can understand the band's frustration in trying to create each new album with hopes to top this one (and in some fans' minds, they have), but even when the day comes that they might truly top Drawing Black Lines, this will still remain a hard-hitting and memorable collection of rock songs.

Anyone else familiar with this record? Let us know if you recommend it!

(Remember, we want YOUR comments on how the record has affected you. But please keep in mind, this is NOT for your own reviews.)

Project 86
Drawing Black Lines (2000)

Click here for a Staff Review.

Our synopsis: "Intense hardcore tour de force that remains the band's best effort." (Recommended by JFH's John DiBiase)
Perfect For: Struggles with peer pressure, emptiness, lust. Anthems for the faith
Song Highlights: "Stein's Theme," "Me Against Me," "One Armed Man," "Chapter 2," "Set Me Up"

So, what are your thoughts on and experiences with the album Drawing Black Lines? Do you recommend it? If so, why?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Lumpy Underoos

Josiah, my oldest boy of three years, was almost potty trained. But we were leaving chick-fil-a the other day and he started whining as he reached behind himself to grab his hiney. i know that reach. i recognize those eyes. I’m familiar with that vein in the forehead. so we bolted for the bathroom. we entered into the bathroom stall to do the deed.
Funny thing . . . I don’t remember the back of his spidey-underoos having a lump.
Josiah was whining and near tears. I was whining and near tears. he was circling around the stall like a nervous chihuahua while I was chasing him and trying to take care of his business. It was not a pretty sight. I had to have him assume the position and clean him up. it was beautifully disgusting.
Then i started laughing. Josiah started laughing. There we were, spidey-underoos at his ankles, daddy with toilet paper in one hand and covering his nose with the other just. . . laughing. Poopy before us, beneath us, above us, around us, and we’re laughing. He said, “dadddddddyyyyyy. it funny, it’nt daddy. it funnnnnyyyy.”   it was a holy moment. i’m not kidding. a holy moment. my son and i. Just him and me.  In the mess. Poopy, tears, and joy. 
Messes, tears, and joy–sounds a lot like a life with Jesus. 
I'm a mess inside. I've made messes of my life.. I've caused messes in people's lives. I still make messes. I  just mask it better. You?
But God enters into my mess and messes. And He always will.  Same with you.
Tears come... and they go. His joy never ends. Same for you.
i told a friend about this worship moment i had with Josiah. He looked at me as if i’d told him i was a chicken nugget. I don’t expect him to understand, really. nor can anyone understand the love of a God to become man and enter into . . .our mess. 
i will tuck that moment with Josiah into a special place within me.  Not sure you can really relate to that or not. That's okay. But for what it’s worth I’ll give you this little jewel to pocket away until needed:

Beware of lumpy underoos. 

1996, here I come!

Ever since I had to sell my Wii (I needed money.....sigh), I've been missing playing video games.  I'm not a huge gamer, but I do enjoy them.  I've always loved many of the games that have been released through Nintendo.  So a week or two ago, I went to my parents' house, and I pulled out our old Nintendo 64, and some of the games (I left the South Park games alone haha), and I brought them back to my apartment.  Unfortunately, some of our games had been lost or stolen, classics like Super Mario 64 and The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time.

But I did pull out some Banjo-Kazooie and Banjo-Tooie, as well as a couple of my all-time favorites from the console, WWF Wrestlemania 2000 and Star Fox 64.  Great games.  Now I just need to get ahold of WWF No Mercy (I found a place where I can get a copy for like eight bucks!) and the original Super Smash Bros.  How about all you guys?  Favorite games from the Nintendo 64.....GO!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

With love to our Warriors

To our Veterans... Thank you for your sacrifice to preserve our freedoms and protect our families, friends, indeed all Americans.  May the Lord shine His joy upon you this day as we give thanks for you.


Pearl Harbor survivor Houston James of Dallas embraced Marine Staff Sgt. Mark Graunke Jr. during a Veterans Day Commemoration. Graunke lost a hand, a leg and an eye when he defused a bomb in Iraq last year.

(Click here for picture source).

Monday, November 10, 2008

We Recommend - Switchfoot's 'The Legend Of Chin'

So it probably seems strange that so far all five of these "We Recommend" blogs go back at least several years, with four of them taking us back to the 90's. The reasoning for this is that most current music is what gets the most focus as new tunes are coming out almost daily. However, musical gems still exist on the shelves of many music stores as well as music fan collections. For this, our fifth "We Recommend" Blog, I'm taking us back to 1997 with Switchfoot's The Legend Of Chin. My older brother worked for a local "mom n' pop"-owned Christian bookstore called "Hackman's Bible Bookstore" at the time and brought home the demo for The Legend Of Chin. I popped it in and didn't really care for what I heard. This little San Diego alt pop rock outfit was too indie for my more contemporary-rock teen tastes. But one afternoon, while watching a Christian music video show as part of my afternoon routine, I caught the video for "Chem 6A" and instantly became interested. I ran back upstairs, snatched up The Legend Of Chin and the rest is history. While it's not their best record, there's plenty of depth in this quirky Switchfoot album to make it well worth the listen eleven years later - if only just to experience this incredible band's humble beginnings. I still especially like "Chem 6A," "Life and Love and Why," the melancholic "Don't Be There," and a song I related all too well at the age of 17, "Might Have Ben Hur." (haha!)

Anyone else familiar with this record? Let us know if you recommend it!

(Remember, we want YOUR comments on how the record has affected you. But please keep in mind, this is NOT for your own reviews.)

The Legend Of Chin (1997)

Click here for a Staff Review.

Our synopsis: "This was the start of something really great. Definitely a 'legendary' rock release." (Recommended by JFH's John DiBiase)
Perfect For: Teen life, Love, Melancholy rainy days, pensive listening
Song Highlights: As stated before... "Chem 6A," "Life and Love and Why," "Don't Be There," "Concrete Girl," and "Might Have Ben Hur."

So, what are your thoughts on and experiences with the album The Legend Of Chin? Do you recommend it? If so, why?

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Why I don't listen to my radio

It's a sad fact, but it's true: 75% of the time, my local Christian radio station never plays anything I consider "good". In a way, it's a bit of a breath of fresh air when they spin Switchfoot or Sanctus Real, but most of the time it's the same old mediocre pop or hip-hop, which is about when I lose intrest.

I've noticed that this malady isn't limited to CCM radio, but is also prevelant in many mainstream stations as well. Mediocre pop, rap, hip-hop, and R&B, with the occasional gem of a song thrown in for good measure. And in the end it begs the question: why? Because it sells, and if it sells, it makes money, and if it makes money, record labels want more of it. So in the end the world's music trends are governed by a group of corporate entities, whose main focus is making money; not a very healthy situation, musically.

Much of the talent exists among the independents, unsigned bands who don't care for impressing the execs at their record label.  Some kudos has to be given to Tooth & Nail for signing on many of these bands (especially just this year), and not trying to fit them into a mold that would destroy who they were. Many other small Christian record labels seem to be catching on over the last three or four years, and good for them.

Now, if only the radio stations would follow suit with their playlists...


I was at the airport counter a few months ago.  As usual I arrived 3 hours early (I'm anal like that). There was a line of 25 people checking in at the Kiosk (an electronic personal check-in hickamadooger that looks like an ATM machine).  A school sports team of some sort.  A customer service agent was working the counter to confirm check-in and tag bags.  Beside the agent was an open counter. I figured the agent would see me with my one measly bag and squeeze me in so I could be on my way. Would have taken all of about 58 seconds, if that.

I walked up to the open counter and stood there. And stood there. And stood there.  I watched all 25 people check-in. The agent never even acknowledged my existence. And it’s not like I wasn’t seen. I’m 6’7 for crying out loud.

In the meantime a gentleman had walked up with his briefcase in hand.  After the last person of the posse of 25 dragged their bag off, the gentleman looked at the agent, and then over to me and said, "Go ahead, man." To which the agent said to the gentleman, "Sir, I'll take you right here."

My eyes glazed over white with anger. Sweat beaded on my forehead. My breath shortened. “Unprofitable” words filled my mind---words that might’ve made a gangster-rapper blush. I almost wasn’t a Christian anymore.

To show you the gravity of this moment I’ll tell you what I’ve told some friends of mine in the past couple of years: "If you ever hear a rumor that I was arrested in an airport, it's true."

Two other people had lined up behind the gentleman. Against my pride, I walked over to stand behind them. By now I'd been there around 30 minutes and counting. I seethed. Mentally I explored scenarios of what I would say and do when I got to the counter—--what words I’d bark out, what stare I’d give, how I’d swear to never fly the airline again.  

I stepped to the counter cocked and ready.   The agent looked at me and talked to me as if I was a waste of time. I was handed my ticket and tagged bag.  Then I did the most terrible thing ever.  I’m ashamed to even say. You ready to hear it? Brace yourself. 

I didn’t say thank you.  And felt good about it. 

Horrific, I know. 
Ironically, or actually by God’s sovereignty, I came across a text in Colossians written by the Apostle Paul. He said to set our affection on “things above” (Christ), and to “put away: anger [and] wrath…”.   Anger Biblically defined is an abiding and festering agitation that has in its sights revenge---Anger fantasy. Wrath Biblically defined is that agitation reaching the boiling point and blowing up. It’s a sudden burst of anger---Anger Fantasy gone public.
On the other hand, Paul says, “Let the peace of Christ rule your hearts . . .” (Col 3:15). The literal translation of “rule” is “umpire.” How do we deal with anger & wrath when they flare up within us? We pray for Christ to bring peace into the game and eject anger and wrath out of the park.
I learned a few of things that day at the airport.
1) I have issues.

2) Anger fantasies are dangerous (and a waste of time).

3) Those kinds of situations test and expose the true state of our souls. Those moments reveal where our affections are (for ourselves or Christ) and what truly rules our hearts. 


Darkness was revealed in my heart that day. What's disturbing is that I thought my heart was good. But God never lets us settle with such a thought.  We constantly need Jesus.

 When you read my story did you put yourself in my place? Did you feel yourself flaring up? What does that reveal about the state of your soul? Is Christ ruling and umpiring your heart or does anger easily take over?  The Lord is working on me. And I need a lot of work. Because if the airport thing happened again I’m still not sure I’d say thank you. 

Help me Umpire Jesus.


Monday, November 3, 2008

I can't believe you voted for...'s been a little bit since i blogged last.  we're currently on tour with our best buds in The Wedding and A Current Affair out west.  we're just three bands out here doing our part to rock some faces and win the west like they used to back in the day.  haha, we're having a BLAST.  you guys be sure to check our tour dates on our myspace ( and come out to a show if you feel so inclined.
so far the shows have been the best.

i didn't really know what to title this blog, but i just wanted to throw in a little something about tomorrow (Tuesday, November 4th)...Election Day.  it's a big day for our country, and i'm sure that you've noticed like me that almost (almost) everyone on facebook has updated their status to proclaim who they're voting for.  there's even this little counter thing i saw that reveals what number you are on stating your support for the McCain / Palin ticket or the Obama / Biden ticket.  crazy times we live in, haha.  i had a talk with a friend of mine today, and we were talking about how crazy its been with this election; how many are viewing this election as the most important one of our time (remember when they said that same thing 4 years ago?), and how many in the church find it like, the most important thing in the world to make sure their candidate wins.
she made the most important point about it,  i think:
No matter who wins, no matter what happens in the next four years, no matter what...God is still God.  and God is still in control.  it  says in the bible that He brings His will about through the good and the bad, and i believe that that includes political leaders, presidents, kings, dictators, what have you.  so many people are worried that with McCain being in office, we'll be stuck in this war forever and the economy will drag on like it has been.  so many others are worried that the nation will fall into the worst state it's ever been and we'll just get bombed and invaded and terrorized constantly if Obama gets elected.  the thing is...why are we worried?  yes, it's important as an "american" to vote and vote to your conviction, but at the same time, we as christians are supposed to trust in a little bit higher of an authority. 
what i'm trying to say is, political parties and allegiances shouldn't be something that tears the church apart.  we allow our personal political opinions to get in the way, and politics just becomes another thing that we let separate us.  there's no need for that.  we are loved, protected, and provided for by an amazing God who is IN CONTROL.  all of our worried voting can do nothing to help or hinder that fact. 
i guess that what i'm trying to say is, vote to your conviction.  but don't tear others down for what they think.  if a friend of yours who professes to be a christian says they're voting for Obama, don't go crazy and proceed to summon the fire of God down on their heads.  fact is, God still loves that person no matter who they vote for.
i think we're all just a little too scared that God's gonna be mad at us if we vote for the wrong guy.  will He be?  you should ask Him.
in the end, we are called to love.  lets say worse comes to worse, and no matter who is elected we end up getting invaded and persecuted for being Christians and maybe even being threatened with death for our faith.  say that it becomes illegal to witness to people, to tell people openly and lovingly what you believe, to even mention the name of Christ out loud...what would we do? 
we'd be in a place much like the....early church.  and that would probably be a great place to be.  we (as a church) would be completely dependent on God and things would probably look a lot different.
they might look a lot like they did in the beginning.  A LOT different than the modern, comfortable, rich, western idea of church that we've all grown up in.  have you ever wondered what the church would look like if we lost our million dollar buildings, our programs, our mission trips, if we lost our stability, our riches, our jobs, our cars....our grip on the government and our country's leadership?
what would life be like if things went back to the way of life of the early church?  how would we react?  how would you react to the grace of God if it was all the stability that you had?
in the end, we as a church must be determined to love others.  love the body, love those outside of the body.  they will know us by our love.
and no matter who you vote for tomorrow (or who you did vote for on the 4th) you must be determined to show the love of Christ to those that agree with you and those that don't.  be they democrat, republican, progressive, constitutional, green, independent, or just plain insane.  we must not be afraid of being people that love those that are on the margins of society and not just focused on converting the coolest and most popular, the rich and the rulers.  we're free to love and provide for the needs of everyone, and by the grace of God we don't have to be afraid of doing that.  God will provide...through us. 
we just have to get out of the mindset that we've gotta be in control and on top. 
We're called to be servants, and servants were never the heads of the table. 

We Recommend - Newsboys' Take Me To Your Leader

For our fourth "We Recommend" Blog, we're going back to February, 2006, with Newsboys' , Take Me To Your Leader. I'll never forget picking up this record on release day, sitting on my bed and listening to it for the first time. A solid record from beginning to end, Take Me To Your Leader is a well-balanced pop rock album that is silly and intense at just the right moments. Whether it's singing about how Hell will be no picnic (and therefore, there won't be breakfast served there!) or it's looking at much more dark topics like the laziness and complacency that some believers fall prey to, this album offers a little for everyone. Take Me To Your Leader also serves as further proof that Newsboys aren't just a youth group pop band for teens. The brilliance of pairing the Aussies with Steve Taylor's production and writing talents comes to full bloom on this album. This record was also recorded live in the studio which gives it much more of a raw rock sound than previously heard - or even since - from Newsboys.

Anyone else familiar with this record? Let us know if you recommend it!

(Remember, we want YOUR comments on how the record has affected you. But please keep in mind, this is NOT for your own reviews.)

Take Me To Your Leader (1996)

Click here for a Reader Review and "Our Two Cents"

Our synopsis: "A strong rock record with heart and relativity. Possibly their best." (Recommended by JFH's John DiBiase)
Perfect For: Bad days, Forgiveness, Fun, Worship
Song Highlights: "Lost The Plot" is a moody and sarcastic reflection on the plague of complacency on Christians while "Breathe" is a brutally honest rocker about needing God's special touch on days when being like Christ is the last thing we feel capable of doing. And the "Benediction" is a beautiful response. But we can't completely forget the fun title track and the unforgettable hit, "Breakfast."

So, what are your thoughts on and experiences with the album Take Me To Your Leader? Do you recommend it? If so, why?