I’m about to make the finishing touch

It just occured to me, Our Hope was never finished.

I haven’t felt this excited about a musical project since… well the day I imagined Our Hope would ever exist.

Here’s to completion!

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a story from my youth

Less is more. Short is better than long. It’s more wise, and more appealing to read. This is my short blog.

A story from my youth

When I was younger, a child in the ways of the the Lord and an adolescent in my age, I became incredibly zealous for the Lord. I sought after him with the greatest love, as if He was truly worth looking for, someone deserving of my time, my thoughts and my whole life. I had no dignity. I would do anything for him.

When I was a little older, I phased out of this sick passion for the Lord. It was for practical reasons… my friends loathed me, my reputation became much more important as a result of my occupation, I grew up and out of my “youthful zeal.” Some of these things were actually good natured. My friends urged me on for good reasons (I had become full of myself), my reputation was used for the benefit of others… But following these things led to my greatest demis, I cursed the things I built saying, “My life is nothing more than youthful zeal devoid of reality, full of selfishness and elitist pride.” The loss became too big for me to deal with so I turned to the ways of mediocre Christian living -just enough to get by and be safe…

And now that I am oldest, I am fully aware of the truth. I traded the love of the Lord for an abomination to Him. But how great is his love toward us and how perfect at restoring us. For the Lord wants a broken and contrite heart -that’s all He requires to restore us and desires of us.

My love for the Lord was good regardless of my immaturity. He reminds me of how it moved His heart -He was overjoyed at my weak love. Yes! Utterly heartfelt -moved and ravished by it! (doesn’t that rattle your brain?) He was far more concerned with my love for him than my maturity. Afterall, He is the one who matures.

Now let me find that love again! As far as I’m concerned, maturity can come naturally, and if it never comes (how I perceive or anyone else perceives) so be it. I’ve found the thing worth living for: I will follow Jesus with all of my heart, soul, mind and strength.

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Our Hope is Still Secure

This is the climax. This is the central theme. It is the whole thought behind the album.

Our Hope [is still secure] might be an appropriate title for the album as well, but I like to think of a album title as being a blend of mystery and something simple. I believe a title should engage a person at first sight… “What is Our Hope?” and the answer should be found within. A book really is judged by the cover, huh?

Maybe, I’m a little over my head, and I’m not really certain that the title “Our Hope” begs much of a question… as I could see how it could be taken as a simple bold statement, but my intention was captivate from first glance…. again, not sure if I did a great job at that, but it’s probably not too important anyway…

Now! I will tell you what is important.

This was probably the first song I wrote while I was at IHOP last year, at least it was the first song I started. I actually started the chorus out of worship, partly just to encourage myself. (I’m a big fan on making songs for yourself and for everyone else… I might be just as concerned with ministering to myself as I am ministering to others when it comes to this stuff… well, I suppose it fluctuates from one to the other from time to time… my thought is that if I can still be encouraged by something I wrote a while back ago, that’s pretty great! Praise God who gives the Spirit without measure and that He is a Spirit of encouragement and true comfort available to all to call…)

It wasn’t much time after singing that my roommates burst through the door with all rambunction and disrupted my beautiful time with Jesus… eh, whatdaya gonna do?

I was certain that I would forget the things I’d sang.. I was already thinking it would be nice to remember this chorus for some project (I think in “projects” – I’m much more inclined to “the big picture” than say a single song… this is why my possible favorite album of all time is A Collision by David Crowder -that’s seriously a piece of work!)

About a month later, I remembered the chorus for what I think to be verbatim and I was very pleased. After that a few verses started coming together from things I’d been singing over myself within the month. During the mixing process my good and super musically intuitive writer friend Paden Smith gave a little criticism for the flow of the song, and I think that really made the song shine!

Now let me tell you what’s actually important… :p

The Nature of the song is different than what some might consider a “worship song” due to it’s central theme of God’s goodness to us. I hear a lot about people saying all “worship” or “Christian” songs should be about God and his glory (which I agree with) and that they shouldn’t be about man at all (which I disagree with!). The fact that God has chosen to reveal Himself to us and shower us with Grace and Perfect Kindness and Love is enough for me to believe it’s something worth singing about. For goodness sake, if we take out singing about ourselves, we’re actually robbing God of the glory He’s due -He has after all tasted death for us, He has brought us into His glorious richness and crowned us with life-everlasting! And even now we, as believers, have the Spirit of God living inside of us -surely, the Praise of God lies within the hearts of men, it’s not some “higher-than” thing that we can’t live up to, nor is it some weighty mystery that only scholars understand, rather it’s the Spirit of God living inside of me to the praise of His glory.

My favorite line is “We’ll be with the Lord always!”

I believe it’s in 1 or 2 Thessalonians, where Paul writes to encourage those of the Faith who know fellow believers who have passed away that our grief shouldn’t crush us, and in speaking of the day when the dead will rise to judgement, those who have been with the Lord will continue to do the same for eternity, “speak t0 them words of encouragement; we will be with the Lord always…” I found that line exceedingly encouraging for myself and it’s my dream that all who hear and all who read would be encouraged in the same way. This is the kind of thing that follows a person for the rest of their life. It’s absolutely what dictates the way they live and the whole of their thought life… that is, if we keep mindful of it. This is good news and I don’t want to pass it up.

In the end of the song, you hear the word’s “Praise the God who is and was…” and I think it’s important to note that this is (to my knowledge, in many reputable versions) the exact text.. I think a few add the last part of the earlier mentioned whole phrase “Praise the God who is and was and is to come” -I found this very interesting and I wanted to accentuate the lack of “is to come” -perhaps this is a statement referring to God’s Kingdom in its fullness at that time in history (later, when Jesus comes back) as the context seems to pretty clearly convey:

…[the Heavenly Hosts] saying, “We give thanks to you, Lord God Almighty, who is and who was, for you have taken your great power and begun to reign.” Rev 11:17

I could be wrong, but it seems that the lack of “is to come” in this passage is intentional…

And if I can say one more thing as the most important thing I’ve said:

This is all a reminder of the joy of being with the Lord forever. What a great Love to rescue us from the cruel grips of the Enemy in our world. And what a great thing to know the gift of God for every person who calls upon Him -for those who have chosen to follow the man Jesus, their reward is wonderful, their joy is eternal, their Hope is set upon the Rock of Ages -it will never move, they have a beautiful inheritance!

for some pretty nifty samples of the album check out my music at the link below:

SoundCloud

Thanks for reading! 🙂

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mmmMMMmm…

Wow, I had such a good birthday! 🙂

Figured it would be a nice thing to write about, maybe just for my own good. Often times in scripture you’ll see a man worship the Lord by setting up an altar and giving sacrifice to the Lord after some big event or landmark in ones life on either a personal or cosmic level. This weekend was nothing less of that for me.

For my birthday, my darling fiancee decided to save money and pay for a trip for me to come up to IHOP-KC for a weekend.

I really do think I have the most wonderful friend for the rest of my life. It’s a good thing when the woman you’re planning to marry backs you up on your desires and even goes out of her way to bless you in the way that speaks loudest to you. It’s the most uplifting kind of love I could ever imagine from a girl. I hope everyone else can experience the same and that men of the Lord choose to hold out for a similar girl and experience the immense blessing of a true woman of the Lord, a passionate lover of Jesus and carrier of his burden.

Thanks Darling Girl! 🙂

Alright, so it’s hard to encapsulate the whole weekend so I’ll try to be as quick as possible (and if you know me, you know that this kind of preface usually means the opposite of it’s intended purpose :p)

I flew in Thursday night and stayed with my buddy Jesse Underwood, who is a outstanding worshipper of Jesus through music. He was my ride to and from everything this weekend -really a nice treat!

On Friday I started of my morning with a few hours in the prayer room, then lunch with Jesse, a little down time -sorta worked on Jesse’s guitar, then off to IHOP’s big Friday night service where Mike Bickle talked about 3 outstanding names for Jesus found in scripture and critically important as mentioned by Jesus himself. It’s no new subject here at IHOP, but a nice refresher for me. At the end of the age Jesus will reveal himself fully as Bridegroom to the church, Judge of the nations and ALL individuals, and King of the earth. Later that night I ran around with my old roomates for some good ole nostalgic fun.

On Saturday I spent some time in the Prayer Room, sung on a team in the GPR (the big prayer room here) (that was really cool, because normally you have to be on staff here at IHOP to do that… it was quite the last-minute birthday surprise!), after that I hung out with more friends from my internship that just happened to be getting together. At the end of our hanging out someone suggested we prophecy* over each other at the party. I, in my shameless confession, asked for extra prophecy since it was my birthday (who can deny that, right?) And so I received many good words about what the Lord has already been doing in my life, confirming things He had spoken to me over the past year. It was completely amazing! 🙂 -glad I wrote everything down. After that, I received prayer from them. I was so encouraged by their faith. And, to top it off, at the end of the night I got to lead an hour in the GPR with Jesse while everyone was over at the big Saturday night service at FCF. We made beautiful sounds to the Lord in an almost empty room -it was great! 🙂 I’m really trying to get that guy to move down to Texas…

And then, there’s today. I went to IHOP’s Sunday morning service and hung out with my old house leader, Michael Sorge. The man loves Jesus so much that he gave me his old USB interface for recording audio (something I’ve been wanting for a long time now!) So now, I can record music in the luxury of my house, or on a mountain somewhere in the rockies or something if I wanted to… well, if I wanted to… It’s also a nice piece of equipment because it allows me (or Teresa) to have a much more clean and strong audio path when playing keyboard somewhere and using Reason. Now I’m just relaxing in the Prayer Room writing this blog.

Amen and Amen! 🙂

*(I love how laid-back people are here regarding that. The issue of “Prophecy” has been so untouched in some places (despite my belief that many lovers of Jesus do it without even knowing, they just don’t have the terminology… and as far as I’m concerned, it’s much more important that they do it regardless of the terminology -I have a feeling terminology is just a tool for knowledge useful for understanding and teaching to others). On the flipped-side, I think a lot of people don’t believe it to be important today or something… my thought is, “Why not hear the voice of the Lord more?! Why not seek His voice for the sake of your brothers and sisters in the faith who would benefit from hearing it? All believers have access to prophecy and should seek the gift of the God’s word so that they may encourage each other in a life’s trials!” The Word of God is not just the Bible (Of course, we are commanded to test and approve what’s good by the Word of God! “For we know in part and we prophecy in part” (1 cor 13:9), so test what you hear! But at the same time, understand that prophecy (the word of the Lord) is good and designed to edify the saints. (1 Cor 14:6) And Paul says to eagerly desire the spiritual gifts especially prophecy, for the reason mentioned above.)

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Identity

There’s something really good to say about having a personal journal. Truth is, I can’t remember what I ate for breakfast last week. So what about those really important things in my life that have happened over a course of time? You would think one would remember… but after reading through some of my old entries, I was shocked to see how much I had forgotten.

I lost the thought of some of the most life changing, inspiring facets of what the Lord has done over the course of a few years (Oh how I wish I could find my entries from 5 or 6 years ago…) And it was very nice to read over these things.

…So go journal. I’m going to sleep.

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Releasing the Sound in Israel: an informative recap of our trip to Israel

I’m just starting to think of all the things we did on our trip this year and it’s actually quite overwhelming. It wouldn’t have been unreasonable if we had spread the course of our trip over 3 weeks and not 2, nonetheless, the Lord gave our team incredible grace to do such work on a tight schedule.

To start, we all met up in Washington, DC to bond with our team and seek the Lord together before we would head out to the Holy Land. During our stay there, we were heartily sent out by the Burn DC crew, including Roger Joyner, and on another day Dick Simmons, who has long been a vigorous contender and father of intercessors in the District. The Lord really used those few days to minister to our team in a powerful way.

Our first stop in Israel would be right on top of Mt Carmel, where we spent hours a day in worship and prayer with our team and the people from the ministry there. Much of our time in those places involved intense intercession for Israel –that they may know Yeshua Ha-Mashiach (Jesus Christ) and his desire for his people; that Salvation would be clearly seen by all Jews and Muslims and everyone in the Land. On one night we went out to Haifa bay and boldly worshipped the Lord on the beach with our instruments. On another night we met up with a youth group in Nazareth where we brought the freedom of the Lord in worship as well as prayed for the kids and leaders there who have faced serious obstacles in the expression of their love for God. Altogether, we stayed in Haifa for 4 days.

Now on to Jerusalem, we arrived at Living Bread where we stayed the remainder of our trip. From here we engaged in worship every morning with the Living Bread team, which also worked to prepare our hearts for the things we would do in the day.

On multiple occasions we prayed for and encouraged the believers in the land, whether they were facing serious health problems, persecutions or working to establish prayer rooms throughout the city. Our team found it very important that we serve the believers there as they are on the frontlines paving the way for our Lord’s honor and praise.

On one night we took our instruments and worshipped in a square close to Ben Yehuda Street. To my knowledge, Ben Yehuda is, to say the least, comparable to New York City for its densely populated streets –what a perfect place to worship the Lord and proclaim His character? We were quite amazed at how much of a spectacle we were within seconds. People were literately running to take pictures and video of this crazy occurrence in the streets. We sang things like, “Now you have a purpose, Now you have a destiny, Jerusalem!” and “You were made for love!” and from the conversations sparked up with some our team members, we found out that it was pretty clear what we were doing here. This whole experience was probably my favorite on the whole trip.

As mentioned earlier, we visited a good handful of prayer rooms in the city and again worshipped the Lord with other believers. We didn’t only encourage the believers we came in contact with there, we worshipped with them as brothers and sisters accomplishing a single goal that we would seek the Lord in His temple and inquire within.

Along with everything else, we we’re graced to receive some good touring led by one our contacts there. The Lord used such things for our benefit that we could understand better His purposes in the Land to pray and act accordingly.

With everything said, we are recognizing that He has poured such grace upon us that we might understand His work there in the most pleasing way, that we may serve the ones crying out in the Land and ultimately those who are to inherit Salvation as the result of the Body’s prayers and deeds. It was truly our pleasure to join in with His work there, and even now to continue as ruthless warriors for His praise and mercy throughout the world.

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Israel Update

Whew! please excuse my delay in updating. We have been going strong with so many things and have had little to no down time

Please pray that the Lord would give us more time and the grace to accomplish the rest of our goals for this trip.

Last night our team relieved prayer room staff at a large prayer room in Jerusalem. I don’t think I’m allowed to tell much more about the place, but I will tell you how sweet the worship was. I actually slept through a great portion of the time, seeing how we were doing 8-8am, but from what I’ve heard and from the little I experienced, there was a sense of the great reality of our Lord’s cry for Israel. He is longing for Israel’s salvation -that they may know and believe in Jesus who was sent into the world to save them from their sins. I might have to let someone else tell more about the night. (Right now everyone else is sleeping because they didn’t get as much sleep as me) On another note, I was awakened by the adhan (Islamic call to prayer that occurs 5 times a day) at 3am and being where I was, I could hear a great multitude much louder than I’ve heard in our usual dwelling… to say the least, it was creepy. I prayed for the truth of God to sweep through the land and shine light on on Jesus who is Lord of All. There is no way to the God but through Jesus. (John 10)

On Monday night we took a long walk, to Ben Yehuda street where we worshipped the Jesus and boldly proclaimed freedom and life over Israel. We were singing things like “Now you have a purpose, Now you have a destiny, He made you for His glory, Jerusalem!” and “You were made for His love!” It was amazing to see how obviously foreign this was as people walking by were suddenly taking pictures and staring at us with strange curiosity. (Reader, understand that a good majority of people here are fluent in English, and from a few conversations on the street we were told it was pretty obvious what we were doing.) A few of our people had some good conversations with people walking up and there were some instances where we got to pray for people!

Those are just some of the highlights for me. Our team will be posting pictures soon which will probably work as a more detailed depiction of what we’ve done. Continue to lift us up in the next few days before we leave for home. Plans for today are to go to Bethany and worship in a church next to Lazarus’s tomb and worship with some of our friends where we’re staying later on.

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