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JFH Staff Blog | July 2011

Friday, July 29, 2011

An Intriguing Documentary-

 I happened upon an absolutely fascinating documentary today. It takes a hard look at modern youth ministry and asks some really rough questions. I highly recommend it, and at just under an hour, it isn't even much of a time investment. I hit play this morning thinking I'd just watch a few minutes, but it's immediately engrossing. I can't say I agree with every point (i.e. I'm not so sure the "concert" scene is fair.) But once the doc starts rolling into it's main points.... it's sucker punch.

It makes a lot of points that I've long suspected to be true. Definitely a breath of fresh air. I'm about to watch it again with my wife! Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Back in the Studio

 Hey everyone!  We have been working non stop for the last 3 month on writing a new record and it's been pretty challenging, but pretty awesome too.  So far, we have written around 11 songs, and parts of other songs and are still working to make the ones that make it to the final record the best they can be.

If you haven't heard already, we'll be going into the studio with Rob Graves (RED, Pillar, Kerrie Roberts, Brian "Head" Welch, Wavorly) and Jasen Rauch (RED, Brian "Head" Welch, 12 Stones, Pillar, Spoken, Wavorly) to record our fourth record tentatively titled...well, we don't have a title yet. Both are super talented songwriters and producers, and if you didn't recognize his name, Jasen used to play in the band RED. We're super excited to be working with both of them and are pumped to see what having two sets of eyes, ears, hands and feet will add to this record.  Combine that with the energy and drumming that our newest member, Adam McMillion, is bringing to the process this time, it should be pretty sweet.

We'll be starting in the studio the last week of July (THIS WEEK!!!) and will continue all the way up to the Music With A Mission Tour we're doing with Hawk Nelson, Superchick and more starting in September, so it's gonna be a really busy few months for us.  After MWAM, we'll be heading out on Winter Jam's west coast run, so there's a TON going on with us right now.  Somewhere in all that stuff I'm sure we'll find some time to relax a little, but not much.  

Just in case you don't know how to find out where all those tour dates are gonna be taking place, you should go to and you'll find all you need to know about EVERYWHERE we're going.  If you want us to come to your city, tell our booking agent...not us :) They're the ones that can get us there. 

We hope to see all of you guys soon when we get done in the studio, so hold tight, and as soon as we get something we can play for you, we will let you know.


Monday, July 25, 2011

We Recommend - Ivoryline, 'Vessels'

Among the musical surprises of 2010 was the sophomore release from Tooth & Nail Records rock band, Ivoryline. While their debut album There Came A Lion was an admirable debut, it didn't quite leave the impression that Vessels does. Some records impress at first listen while others slowly grow on you with each following listen. At the same time, there are some records that seem less impressive or memorable as years pass; very few records maintain a level of excitement when you hear them later on. Vessels is among those few. A catchy and anthemic rock album that is packed with spiritual meat without being completely direct all the time, and showcasing fantastic, passionate vocals from Jeremy Gray, Vessels is just one of those records that may even improve over time.
- John DiBiase

Vessels (2010)

Click here for our review of the album.

Our synopsis: "One of the best albums of 2010 will be a favorite for years to come. Some of Christian rock at its finest." (Recommended by JFH's John DiBiase)
Perfect For: Peace, Encouragement, Rock N Roll
Song Highlights: “Instincts," "The Healing," "Search Me Out," "Vessels," "Hearts Open” ... pretty much the whole record.

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

Featured Fan - Morgan Jobe

John Cooper of Skillet with Morgan

Favorite Band/Artist: Skillet
Featured Fan: Morgan Jobe
Location: DeKalb, Illinois
When/Where Was The Above Photo Taken:  Summer 2010. Cornerstone Music Festival
What About This Artist's Music Speaks To You: This group has 3 of the best qualities is music. 1- they have a positive message, which makes me think. 2. they play rock music, and I love rock music that is Christian. and 3. they put on an awesome live show.
Favorite Album by This Artist: Comatose
Favorite Song by This Artist: "Best Kept Secret"
Number of Times Seen This Artist Live: 5
Favorite Live Show Experience:  2010
Favorite Piece Of Merch/Item You Own From This Artist: Panhead membership card. Also, Skillet hoodie
Website: N/A

Submit your photo and reasons why YOU'RE a fan for a chance to be featured here!

Friday, July 22, 2011

The Summer Is NOT FOR SALE Tour Blog

Greetings from "The Summer Is NOT FOR SALE Tour" and a big shout out to our good friends at! We are so thankful for their interest in all of the goings-on with The Wrecking and the NOT FOR SALE CAMPAIGN.


This is the second tour in the past year in which The Wrecking and The NOT FOR SALE CAMPAIGN have teamed up to fight human trafficking in the best way we know how: speaking the truth in love, and playing some loud rock n' roll.


The response has been amazing! We are finding again and again in cities across the country that when Christ followers are presented with the stark realities of modern day slavery, big things happen. There are so many powerful and effective ways that NFS is mobilizing real and sustainable change. Check out to see what i mean.


The intersection where our faith and works meet is a sacred thing… An intimate act of worship through sacrifice, prioritization, and joy.


We are also using our time on the road to issue a challenge to our friends on Facebook and around the country. Given the fact that there are an estimated 30 million slaves in the world today we want to reach out to the churches and individuals that we won't get a chance to visit on this particular tour… giving them the opportunity to partner with us in the fight against human trafficking.


We are calling this challenge "30 for 30" We want to seek out 30 individuals who will sponsor NOT FOR SALE with a $28 a month contribution toward the vital work of advocacy for the oppressed around the globe!

In return for the generosity of those of you who contribute, we want to give you some gifts to show our appreciation:

-Each of the 30 for 30 sponsors will receive a limited edition "Summer Is Not For Sale Tour" T-Shirt.

-If you personally bring 10 sponsors to the table for this cause, we will play a show for you and your friends in your living room on our next tour routed through your area!!! Just send an email to with a list of the people that you have gotten together to become monthly sponsors.

-Bring confirmation of your sponsorship to Soulfest and you will receive free admission to the Not For Sale After party with The Wrecking and other artist as well as additional gifts from Not For Sale!

To sign up for the monthly '28 to Emancipate' sponsorship, click this link:

Thank you for partnering with us. Together we can make slavery history.



The Wrecking

Monday, July 18, 2011

Featured Fan - Don Elliott

Don with Third Day

Favorite Band/Artist: Third Day
Featured Fan: Don Elliott
Location: Brookline, VT.
When/Where Was The Above Photo Taken:   Tampa, FL. Dec. 2010
What About This Artist's Music Speaks To You: A lot of bands' music drowns out the voice and lyrics of the singer. Not so with Third Day. Mac's voice is heard clearly in each song, and the combination of worship and rock music is great. This is one of the first bands i started listening to when i got saved in 1998. If you look at my T-shirt in the photo, you will see Mac and I, and the T-shirt i was wearing also has Mac and I from an earlier concert.
Favorite Album by This Artist: Offerings 2
Favorite Song by This Artist: "Offering"
Number of Times Seen This Artist Live: 10-12
Favorite Live Show Experience:  Albany, N.Y. , 2007
Favorite Piece Of Merch/Item You Own From This Artist: my T-shirt i am wearing in this picture
Website: N/A

Submit your photo and reasons why YOU'RE a fan for a chance to be featured here!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Featured Fan - Manic Mary

Manic Mary and Manic Drive (Anthony, Shawn, Mary, Michael)

Favorite Band/Artist: Manic Drive
Featured Fan: Manic Mary
Location: Texas
When/Where Was The Above Photo Taken:   April, 23, 2010 / Texas
What About This Artist's Music Speaks To You: The lyrics of their songs, whether happy, sad, serious, fun... I can always get something out of them, or can relate to them. I also love the band's fun-loving attitude to their fans; they treat them like more like old friends and take the time to talk to them. I also admire their sincere love for God. They are truly an amazing group of guys!
Favorite Album by This Artist: Blue
Favorite Song by This Artist: "Luckiest"
Number of Times Seen This Artist Live: 3
Favorite Live Show Experience:  When I was standing in a hall at the back of the building where the concert was going to be held about an hour later waiting for my brother to come meet me, and then while I was standing there all the sudden Michael walks through the hall. I started screaming, ran to him and almost started crying. He just laughed, gave me a hug and chatted with me. I almost died of happiness!!!
Favorite Piece Of Merch/Item You Own From This Artist: A poster I made for Anthony that he signed

Submit your photo and reasons why YOU'RE a fan for a chance to be featured here!

We Recommend - David Crowder Band, 'Church Music'

Anyone who's been reading JFH faithfully for a number of years has probably noticed that I'm picky when it comes to worship music. I'm not proud of it, because I find it very difficult to find worship music that I enjoy listening to AND that can spark my heart to worship along to. I think it boils down to just not really caring for the standard style of most of the modern worship scene (and let's face it... if you've been listening to this kind of music as long as we have, you notice it's a style that's been done to death), so when an artist does something truly different (and I can stand the vocals -- another thing I'm picky about and not proud of), I get excited about them. Two years ago, I was completely caught by surprise by David Crowder*Band's Church Music. The title alone scared the pants off of me. I half-expected another Tomlin or Hillsong effort just judging by the title. Instead, my ears were met with music that was equal parts fun, intriguing and emotional - especially the band's superior cover of "How He Loves" and a wonderful rendition of Flyleaf's "All Around Me." Almost two years later, it's still a worship record that's a real joy to listen to... which makes the recent announcement of their farewell tour this Fall all that more painful to ponder.
- John DiBiase

David Crowder*Band
Church Music (2009)

Click here for our review of the album.

Our synopsis: "One of the best albums of 2009 is still a significant highlight amongst the worship music genre." (Recommended by JFH's John DiBiase)
Perfect For: Encouragement, Praise & Worship
Song Highlights: “How He Loves," "All Around Me," "Can I Lie Here," "SMS (Shine)," "God Almighty”

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

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Six Books on Marriage

Lots of things change once you get married. Some are big, and you see them coming- home arrangements, lifestyle changes, eating habits, etc. And other things are smaller, more innocuous, and take you by surprise. For example, I had no idea that Kelli and I would become such avid video gamers once we got married. It's just something we really enjoy doing together. We like puzzle games (You can do some serious bonding through the difficulties of the Portal and Portal 2 test chambers), and we enjoy hearing "Killamanjaro!" while taking out grunts and elites in Halo: Reach. 

Another thing that changed was my reading habits. I never hated reading, I just never had the patience to finish a book. It had to be really, really, really good to keep my attention for the required 200-400 pages. But leading up to our wedding, and certainly thereafter, I started reading more books. I still don't read a lot. But I'm normally in the middle of at least two books. It still takes me forever to finish them, but at least I usually finish them now!


I attribute a lot of this to the fact that Kelli and I read quite a few books on marriage leading up to our own marriage. The books we choose to read ended up being just perfect, and all were very helpful. We have a lot of friends getting married before this year is up, so I wanted to encourage them with some very instructional reading.


6. & 5. For Better or for Best and If Only He Knew by Gary Smalley


Gary Smalley has written a ton of books on marriage and relationships, but we found these two to be his best. For Better or for Best is written for wives, and If Only He Knew is written for husbands. Each goes into great detail explaining the inner workings of the opposite sex, and how they react within the confines of marriage to situations that arise. He approaches the subject matter as a counselor, so it can get kinda dry sometimes, but the wealth of knowledge to be gleaned from these books is great.


Kelli and I came up with a fun system to further the experience of reading through these books- I read the book written for women about men first, and wrote notes on all the pages, detailing where I thought Smalley nailed how I, as a man, think and react, and where he missed the mark. I highlighted things he said that especially resonated, and dismissed for Kelli sections I didn't think applied. She did the same thing as she read the book about women written for the men. Once we were done, we swapped, and read the books we were intended to read from the get go, but now with all kinds of notes from our partners as a guide through the process. It ended up being such a good exercise, that we repeated it with a couple more books further down the list.



4. Waking the Dead by John Eldredge


This is not, strictly speaking, a book about marriage. So I'll share a story to qualify it. I received this book as a high school graduation present in the summer of 2006 from my Bible study leader. As mentioned at the beginning of this post, I've never been much of a reader. So when I started it, I didn't make it past the first chapter. It would be two years before I finally picked it up for another try. I can't even remember why I gave it a second shot - probably Divine intervention! But I informed by former Bible study leader that I had finally set about to finish the book she had gifted to me years before. "You better be careful, Josh!" She told me, "If you take that book to heart, someone's gonna fall head over heels for you!"


I mostly laughed it off and thought it was sweet, even though I didn't really understand why she'd said it.  As a nineteen-year-old who had never even had a girlfriend, I highly doubted a book with the flowery language of an Eldredge text was going to dramatically change my love life. As it turns out, however, my Bible Study leader was exactly right. Not even four months after she had predicted John Edredge's impact on the rest of my life, Kelli and I began the two year journey that led to our marriage.


Well? Well?! What did the book say? What was the secret?! I suggest reading Waking the Dead and finding out for yourself. But if you want a brief overview, the book is all about awakening the desires within ourselves as the living breath of Yahweh. I can't do it justice here, but suffice it to say, I never looked at other people the same way again. I began to actively seek out what brought everyone I knew to life. What it was that made their eyes light up. What that one thing was that they were perhaps afraid to really let anyone in on because they were afraid of being rejected.


Of course, I focused most of my attention on a sweet young woman with whom I was becoming quite smitten. And you know what? Kelli told me later that she couldn't help but fall for someone with whom she could share her dreams and desires, someone with whom she felt absolutely safe with her heart! I was too young and naive to have done this on my own, so I'm thankful to this book and my Bible study leader and the Good Lord for nudging me in the right direction. This book is essential whether you're dating, engaged, married, or as single as single can be.


3. & 2. Letters to Karen and Letters to Philip by Charlie W. Shedd


These books are not dissimilar to the Gary Smalley books listed above- one is written for men, the other for women. What makes these books so special is how timeless they are (both were written in the late 1970s) and the perspective from which they were written- These are letters from a father to his children. Minister Charlie W. Shedd was asked by his daughter before her wedding for letters from her daddy on how to be a good wife. The results were published as Letters to Karen, and then a couple of years later, as Letters to Philip when Minister Shedd's son asked the same of his father before his own wedding. The results are deep, intimate, and beautiful. While Gary Smalley's books are largely clinical and fact-driven in their approach, Charlie W. Shedd approaches these books as only a father can- from his heart. He is obviously a man who has counseled many, many couples, but these are his kids, and he approached the challenge with a personal love you won't find in many books. 


These are the shortest reads on the list, and could both be easily finished in one sitting. Kelli and I enhanced the experience by repeating our Gary Smalley exercise and trading books first to take careful notes. We had a lot of fun with these. I cannot recommend them more highly.


1. Sacred Marriage by Gary Thomas


This probably isn't a surprise to anyone that keeps up with this blog. But for anyone who has never heard of it- this is the best book I have ever read on the subject of marriage. Hands down. No questions asked. No debate necessary. Thomas' thesis is: "What if God designed marriage to make us holy more than to make us happy?" And he spends the entire book tirelessly defending, expanding, and answering this question.


It isn't light reading, and you won't finish it with a warm, fuzzy feeling in your stomach as with the other books on this list. Gary Thomas looks you in the eye for 300+ pages and says "Marriage is the hardest thing you will ever do in your entire life, and you will spend all of that time trying to get good at it. Are you really, truly sure you want to do this?" But this isn't a book encouraging the rising culture of "singleness" that has appeared in Christianity. He sums up his sentiment on the issue early on in the book: "If you want to be free to serve Jesus, there's no question- stay single. Marriage takes a lot of time. But if you want to become more like Jesus, I can't imagine any better thing to do than to get married."


Rarely does Thomas speak about the personal benefits of marriage. Rather, 99% of his attention is spent discussing how best to serve your spouse (and God!) through marriage.


Thomas paints a picture of marriage as the ultimate line in the sand- you will either serve Yahweh and succeed, or serve yourself and be miserable. There is no middle ground. It forces your hand. He details the ultimate irony- that the only way to be truly happy in marriage is to completely die to yourself and your own desires. In doing so, he illustrates what is meant when the Bible says the marriage between a man and a woman is a picture of the one between Yahweh and humanity.


You will finish Sacred Marriage feeling one of two ways- scared to death, or more resolute and excited than ever. If ever there was a litmus test determining a person's readiness regarding marriage, it is this book. I cannot sing its praises more highly. Biblically grounded on every page- you will be thinking about it long after you finish.




That's my list. Each of these books helped immeasurably as Kelli and I prepared ourselves for our wedding day. What books have you found that help in regards to relationships and marriage?

(Taken from my blog Taylorville)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Featured Fan - Darius Sanchez

Family Force 5, some old friends... and Darius (far right)

Favorite Band/Artist: Family Force 5
Featured Fan: Darius Sanchez
Location: Waldorf, MD
When/Where Was The Above Photo Taken:   Warped Tour 2008
What About This Artist's Music Speaks To You: Their music never fails to put me in a very good mood. Musically, they have a style that capitalizes on fun. The mix of hip hop and rock is very well crafted with catchy melodies that blow me away every time I listen. The fact that they are not afraid to experiment with different sounds, leaves me to wonder what they are capable of pulling off next. Lyrically, they are a breath of fresh air from all of the negativity heard on the radio today. Even compared to CCM radio, it's nice to get away from the cliche in exchange for music that's fun, but positive, and at most, spiritually uplifting, yet creative.
Favorite Album by This Artist: Business Up Front, Party in the Back
Favorite Song by This Artist: "Kountry Gentleman"
Number of Times Seen This Artist Live: Once (unfortunately)
Favorite Live Show Experience:  Warped Tour 2008
Favorite Piece Of Merch/Item You Own From This Artist: Autographed Poster
Website: N/A

Submit your photo and reasons why YOU'RE a fan for a chance to be featured here!