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Music

  • Blog Summary for March 2014

    Posted on March 28, 2014 by Family Christian

    Here are the most popular blog posts as read by you. Thank you for following us!

    Redeeming Love from Francine Rivers

    Alex Stafford was just like Mama said. He was tall and dark, and Sarah had never seen anyone so beautiful. Even dressed in dusty riding clothes, his hair damp with perspiration, he was like the princes in the stories Mama read. Sarah’s heart beat with wild joy and pride. None of the other fathers she saw at Mass compared to him.

    He looked at her with his dark eyes, and her heart sang. She was wearing her best blue frock and white pinafore, and Mama had braided her hair with pink and blue ribbons. Did Papa like the way she looked? Mama said blue was his favorite color, but why didn’t he smile? Was she fidgeting? Mama said to stand straight and still and act like a lady. She said he would like that. But he didn’t look pleased at all.

    “Isn’t she beautiful, Alex?” Mama said. Her voice sounded strange…tight, like she was choking. “Isn’t she the most beautiful little girl you’ve ever seen?”

    Read the whole book excerpt here.

    The Unstoppable Kirk Cameron

    Kirk Cameron wrote, "It's easy to get excited about your faith when things are going well in your life. But when your whole world comes crashing down on you, the questions start: 'Where is God when I need him most? Why do bad things happen to good people?' Unstoppable is a journey, based on a true story, that has become the most personal and transparent project I have ever made regarding my faith."

    I recently had a video chat with the man-formally-known-as Mike Seaver. I wanted to know what was behind his latest DVD, Unstoppable. What follows are his honest answers.

    Read the whole interview here.

    The Life, Legacy and Music of Bill Gaither

    The pages of history have been written by ordinary people who had something extraordinary to say with their lives. Bill Gaither is just such an individual… an Indiana-born kid with an insatiable love for music who grew to become an industry leader who would change the course of gospel music history through the songs he has written and through his influence as a mentor for other artists.

    An avid fan of gospel quartets throughout his childhood, Bill founded his first group, The Bill Gaither Trio, in 1956, while he was a college student. He began teaching English in 1959 because his musical aspirations couldn’t support him full-time… yet. In 1962, Bill did one of the best things he has ever done. He married Gloria Sickal, who became the best writing partner Bill could have found anywhere. The couple spent the first five years of their married life juggling full-time teaching jobs, writing, singing, recording and publishing until music became their full-time career in 1967.

    That's where it all started.

    Read the full interview here.

    Pulling No Punches - an interview with Lecrae

    From “latch-key kid” to key player in the Man Up movement, Lecrae’s life is an example of God’s transformative power – and he’s not quiet about it. In his signature straight-shoot approach, new album Gravity calls Christians to open their eyes to the weight of need in their world and share the love of Jesus as never before.

    I was born in Houston, Texas to essentially a single parent household. We moved from Houston to Denver, and then, just because my mother was single and was just kind of struggling to make ends meet, I would stay with my grandmother quite often in San Diego, California. So between Texas, California, and Denver, those were the places I bounced around. I was just a sponge. I picked up so much in all that time. Obviously not having a strong male influence or role model, I gravitated to anyone who would pay attention. Most of the time those were terrible influences [who] influenced me to run in the wrong direction quite often. I grew up with a great sense of insecurity in figuring out what I was and where I belonged. Not growing up in church didn’t make it any easier. So I pretty much wrestled through that my whole life until my senior summer in high school. I got into a lot of trouble and [things] really exploded. I had to say “God, I need your help.” That’s really when I began to sense that God was drawing me and [I] later became a Christian after hearing the Gospel.

    Read the full interview here.

    Question and Answers with Nick Vujicic

    Being unstoppable is about believing and achieving. It’s about having faith in yourself, your talents and your purpose and, most of all, in God’s great love and His divine plan for your life.

    Millions around the world recognize the smiling face and inspirational message of Nick Vujicic. Despite being born without arms or legs, Nick’s challenges have not kept him from enjoying great adventures, a fulfilling and meaningful career, and loving relationships. Nick has overcome trials and hardships by focusing on the promises that he was created for a unique and specific purpose, that his life has value and is a gift to others, and that no matter the despair and hard times in life, God is always present. Nick credits his success in life to the power that is unleashed when faith takes action.

    Nick took some time out of his busy schedule to do a little Q&A with us.

    Read the full q&a here.

    A Q&A with Capital Kings

    There’s no denying much of today’s music has the power to move the masses

    physically. Inventive beats and hooky choruses are the currency of the day. Now

    enter Capital Kings, a talented duo that blends pop, electronic dance music, and

    rap into an intoxicating musical mix that makes audiences want to move, and yet

    there’s a thought-provoking, life-affirming undercurrent. Capital Kings combine

    style with substance and introduce flash with a foundation.

    Jon White and Cole Walowac have parlayed a long-term friendship and shared passion for music into one of the hottest careers in the industry. Despite their young age, the duo’s

    history is a lengthy one. “We were in the nursery in the same church,” Jon says.

    “We moved away to Massachusetts for a few years, Cole and I met back up in

    the same middle school and we started playing in the youth group band. Cole

    would play drums and I would sing and that’s how we started making music.”

    Read all the q&a's here.

    In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day from Mark Batterson

    Locking Eyes with Your Lion

    You are responsible forever for what you have tamed.

    --Antoinede Saint-Exubery

    There is an obscure passage in Scripture that I doubt any Sunday school teacher has ever assigned as a memory verse. It wasn’t exegeted in any of the systematic theology classes I took in seminary. It has absolutely no bearing on any major biblical doctrines. You may have read it a few times in a one-year Bible, but it probably didn’t even make a blip on your radar screen.

    Buried in the Old Testament book of 2 Samuel, the twenty-third chapter, the twentieth and twenty-first verses, is one of the most inconceivable and inspirational passages in Scripture:

    Read the full book excerpt here.

    Skillet. The Rock Band That Doesn't Quit

    Skillet recently made headlines when their last album, Awake, became one of just three rock albums to be certified platinum in 2012, forming an improbable triumvirate with the Black Keys’ El Camino and Mumford & Sons’ Babel. The news that Skillet had sold more than a million albums in the U.S. came as a shock to all but the band’s wildly diverse horde of fans, male and female, young and old—known as Panheads—whose still-swelling ranks now officially number in the seven-digit range. This remarkable achievement was announced just as Skillet was putting the finishing touches on their eagerly awaited follow-up album, Rise (Atlantic/Word).

    As soon as the master was turned in to the studio to finish post production on the new album, I sat down with John Cooper (lead singer) to talk through what was behind Rise. As you will see, while reading this, John is a passionate man. He is passionate about his music. His wife. His family. About Christ.

    Read the full interview here.

    Shane Harper on Living Out the Gospel

    Shane Harper established himself as an artist with a quadruple threat—singer, actor, dancer, and songwriter. He began working as a professional dancer in the entertainment industry when he was just 13, appearing as a principal dancer in High School Musical 2, and in Nickelodeon's show, "Dance on Sunset".

    Shane transitioned easily into acting, and is recurring on the hit Disney Channel show, "Good Luck Charlie", for all 4 seasons. He guest starred on "Wizards of Waverly Place", and "So Random". He also guest starred in a 4 episode arc for the scripted MTV series, "Awkward."

    Shane has a principal role in the feature film, GOD'S NOT DEAD and recently, I sat down with him to talk about faith, Hollywood, books music and coffee.

    Read the full interview here.

    Francesca Battistelli - A Girl. A Voice. A Mission.

    The more you walk in relationship with the Lord, the more you learn to trust him. I'm learning not to focus so much on the issues I think are so big right now—our bus has broken down, or someone said something that frustrated me. I'm learning to slowly let things roll off my back, to say, 'Hey, God knew about this before it happened and He's got a way out or a plan better than mine.' I've learned to stop freaking out and just trust that God knows what he's doing. He's not going to leave me in a bad place because He never has before.

    Such it is with Francesca Battistelli. Honest. Simple. Beautiful. Intentional.

    We have all been exposed to her music. Starting with "I'm Letting Go," or "Free to Be Me." "This is the Stuff" or "Strangely Dim." It doesn't matter. For every time that "Franny" opens her mouth to sing, she is opening her heart.

    There is a vulnerable side to this young lady. And if you didn't know it already, you will be able to hear it by reading the interview below. Franny came to our corporate Christmas party to bring encouragement and holiday greetings. After I sat down with her, I was reminded again about her passion.

    Read the full interview here.

    So which blog post was your favorite? Is there an author or an artist that you would like us to interview? Leave a comment below and let us know.

  • Michael W. Smith - Behind the New Album

    Posted on March 26, 2014 by Dan Hubka


    “Sometimes you’ve just got to shake things up,” Michael W. Smith says with a smile. After selling more than 15 million albums, scoring 28 No. 1 hits, earning three GRAMMYs and more than 40 Dove Awards, no one would blame the Christian music icon if he decided to coast just a little bit, but that’s just not in his nature.

    On Sovereign, Michael’s first worship album since 2008 and his first project since signing with Capitol Christian Music Group in 2013, he deliberately steps into a new creative chapter to craft a vibrant collection of vertically focused songs with a fresh sense of musical innovation.

    I sat down with "Smitty" to how he shook things up on his new album, Sovereign.

    Dan:                            And you’re with a brand new record label. What's that been like? Has it been different from what you've done in the past in terms of how things have progressed? Could give me some insight onto how things are different?

    Michael:                    Well, it's honestly a bit of fresh air. I mean, it was hard to leave when you've been with a record company for that long—for 29 years. But sometimes you just need to shake things up a little bit. I've always been impressed by Capitol and BMG and the kind of stuff that they're doing. And I’ve always wanted to work with Bill Hearn. So, through a series of many meetings with just about every record label there was, I felt like this was the right move. And they're knocking it out of the park. They're all in. It's been a real team effort to create this project and I'm really excited about it. I think it's my best work yet. We’ll have to see if everybody else feels the same way.

    Dan:                            Has the process itself been different from what you've done in previous records?

    Michael:                    Very different. Big faith steps for me. Going to territories I've never been to before on the creative side. Working with all these kids—I'm old enough to be their dad. That’s been a challenge and mostly fun. Working with producers I've never worked with before. It's been one of those times you jump out there with a lot of faith and it's really proved to be a great thing.

    Dan:                            The first single is "You Won't Let Go.” Can you tell us a little about that song?

    Michael:                    I wrote it with a guy named Seth Mosley, one of the producers and writers that I've never worked with before. We were hanging out in his studio working on another song called "Miracle.” It’s one of my favorite songs on the record. We kind of made that the bar, saying, “If the song doesn’t top this guy then it's not going to make the record.” We went through 120 songs.

    Dan:                            Wow.

    Michael:                    So I said to Seth, “Just play me something.” He started playing this track and I picked up an acoustic guitar started playing the melody you hear on "You Won't Let Go.” We got to the verse and chorus and I thought, “Oh my gosh, I need to get my iPhone out and hit record so I don't forget this melody.” Thirty minutes later we felt like we really had something solid musically.

    The verses from Romans that say, "Nothing can separate us from the love of God” really propelled the first idea for the lyric. Then we pulled a girl named Mia Fields in, who's a great writer. We all got in the room and we tackled the lyric and before you know it we had a song. And at the end of the day everybody felt like that was the first single. I'm very, very happy with it.

    Dan:                            I love the way that the song ends, with repeat of the simple word “always” at the end. It’s a powerful reminder to the strength of that Scripture.

    Michael:                    Yeah, I agree. It's fun to hear it on the radio. It's been awhile since I've had something on the radio. We've been doing a Christmas record and the Glory record—all these little specialty records that just I love doing. It didn't seem like anything from the Wonder record really connected for some reason.

    I can't predict what radio will play. I've never written for radio my whole life. I've never specifically said, "I'm going to try to write a pop song for radio." With Sovereign, it looks like we have a lot of songs that have potential for radio. It's very commercial but it's very authentic and worshipful.

    Dan:                            I see that you've written on several of the songs but other ones are songs that you found. Can you share with us how you found some of those other songs to round out the record?

    Michael:                    I said, "Look, I don't have to write in on every song. If we can find some songs that are really great then I'm up for that." I mean, I love to write as much as possible, but this is not about me trying to write all the songs on the album.

    So the word got out and all these people start sending me songs. I got a couple from a guy named Dustin Smith who leads worship in a church in Kansas City. "You Are the Fire" is one of his songs. I started doing it live in the fall even before I started working on the album. It seemed to really connect. "Sovereign Over Us” is just unbelievable. It’s written by Aaron Keys from Atlanta. Actually, my son-in-law, Jack Mooring from Leeland, was co-writer on that song. It might be the best song on the album musically and especially lyrically.

    That's just to name a few. Chris Stevens is a guy I've worked with. He's worked with TobyMac and Mandisa for years and was a fan growing up in Eugene, Oregon. Now he's producing three of the cuts and he's mixing the whole record.

    Dan:                            I had the privilege of attending the taping of the deluxe edition at your barn.

    Michael:                    Oh, that's awesome!

    Dan:                            Can you share some of those moments from that night that stuck out to you?

    Michael:                    I thought it was awesome. I mean, we had a lot of stuff to overcome. The weather – it was 14 degrees outside.

    Dan:                            It was cold.

    Michael:                    We kept all the folks in Franklin that sell propane in business. I think from so much that could have gone wrong, everything just worked. I think the challenge was having all of these people come—400 people—to sing these songs. And they’re songs that these people had never heard before.

    There were some wonderful moments. I thought the Leeland moment was incredible. The Kari Jobe moment was amazing. We prayed, “Can we just have a fresh encounter with the Lord this night? Forget about the cameras, forget that we're taping this thing for DVD and audio.” So we forgot all about that. And we felt something. I sensed the beautiful presence of God in that barn.

    Dan:                            As somebody in the audience, I agree there was something about the night. The presence of the Spirit was there. You hit on a couple moments that I thought were really special too. The song with Kari Jobe, “The One That Really Matters,” was a fantastic song and watching the two of you perform that in that moment was really good.

    Michael:                    It’s a Dustin Smith song. We found that song at the last minute. Actually Jack, my son-in-law, mentioned it to me. Jack says, "Hey, you've heard that song, ‘The One that Really Matters,’” and I go, "You know I need to go back and listen to it again." We were still trying to find one last song that possibly could end the record. I went back to listen to it and thought, "Wow. Maybe this is what I'm supposed to do."

    Dan:                            Leeland was at the barn that night as well.

    Michael:                    Leeland and Jack, along with David and Leslie from All Sons & Daughters wrote "Christ Be All Around Me.” I went to Jack because he had cut that song at the barn three weeks earlier and said, "Would you all mind if I cut it?" Everybody was cool with it. That song turned out really amazing not only live, but on the studio version as well.

    Dan:                            I heard that your son Ryan filmed the night at the barn. Is that correct?

    Michael:                    Yes. He's amazing. He's just so good. I'm so proud of him. There were a lot of people in line for that job to do that deal. Ryan had never shot a live DVD. He's made tons of videos. He's written and directed a movie called After, but he had never done this. I said, "Guys I'm staying out of it. You guys hire whoever you think needs the job. There's a conflict of interest here for me.” They all fell in love with Ryan at Capitol.

    It looks amazing. You're not going to believe it. It's so incredibly well done.

    Dan:                            How cool to have your son be part of that. That's pretty awesome.

    Michael:                    Yup. Kind of fun working with your kids.

    Dan:                            Last thoughts on the record. Can you give us some insight as to how you landed on Sovereign as the title track and an overall theme to the record? What made you land on that particular title and song?

    Michael:                    Well, second or third in terms of importance, I think the title pops. But really, first and foremost, I just think we're all just so in love with “Sovereign Over Us” and feel like this song is going to have longevity for a long, long time, mainly for what it says: What the enemy means for evil, He turns it for the good. Even in the valley, He's faithful. He's working it for the good. I think this is something so many people just need to hear.

    I think it's the right title for the record. It encompasses everything that's on the album for sure.

    Dan:                            Going back to that night at the barn, you mentioned something that night that really stuck out to me and I'd like to get some additional thoughts. You mentioned that you believed that 2014 was potentially a big year for the church. What do you mean from that standpoint in terms of what are you seeing and feeling out there?

    Michael:                    I just sense in my spirit that there's something stirring, you know? I feel like there's this—to borrow from Jim Cymbala’s book—Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire. There seems to be a real hunger and passion in this next generation. I think that's going to pay off. When I say pay off, I think that's going to usher in something very, very beautiful. I think there’s something about to explode.

    That's just me. I could be wrong. But if you're a true believer and you look at the Word, man, we're in battle. It's a fight. We have an enemy that's very real and trying to take us down. And I'm feeling like there are a lot of victories coming in 2014.

  • What's New in the World of Books & Music?

    Posted on March 25, 2014 by Family Christian

    Majestic by Kari Jobe REMIXD by Capital Kings More Like a Lion by Michael Boggs Help by Erica Campbell Take This Cup by Bodie & Brock Thoene

  • He Knows My Name - Behind the Song

    Posted on March 24, 2014 by Family Christian

    Francesca Battistelli returns with her fourth album, If We’re Honest. Featuring her radio hit debut song “Write Your Story,” this CD perfects the soulful, pop sound that began with her gold-certified debut, My Paper Heart, and its best-selling follow-up, Hundred More Years. If We’re Honest is full of bright, upbeat songs and personal, thought-provoking ballads that will inspire, encourage and challenge you in your daily walk with God, and ultimately point you toward the hope that is only found in Him.

    In the video below, Franny talks about her new song He Knows My Name.

    What do you think of it? Are you excited about her new album?

  • Coming soon from Francesca, MercyMe and the Robertsons

    Posted on March 24, 2014 by Family Christian

    Read our interview
    If We’re Honest by Francesca Battistelli
    If We’re Honest by Francesca Battistelli
    Welcome To The New by MercyMe
    The Women of Duck Commander by Kay, Korie, Missy, Jessica & Lisa Robertson with Beth Clark
    Good Call by Jase Robertson with Mark Schlabach
    Save 33% on “Duck” items 4/1–4/5 Plus, enter to win the grand prize! Learn more about Duck Days><br />
    The iDisciple app makes it easy to receive personalized Christian content.  Sign up.
  • A New Era for the Gaither Vocal Band

    Posted on March 21, 2014 by Family Christian

    When two Gaither Vocal Band vacancies came open in late 2013, Bill began a meticulous search and considered every possibility. A few weeks ago, Gaither Music announced Adam Crabb as the new lead singer, joining Bill Gaither, David Phelps and Wes Hampton. Now, at last, the search is over for our fifth member and a new era begins in the Gaither Vocal Band’s legacy!

    Gaither Music is pleased to welcome our new baritone, Todd Suttles, to the Gaither Vocal Band. Todd’s deep resonant baritone voice is matched only by his wonderful character, quick sense of humor and infectious energy. He comes to us from Vanderbilt University, where he has served for 20 years as a Sports Fitness Director as well as Vanderbilt’s CampVandy Youth Programs Director, where he will continue when he is not traveling with the Gaither Vocal Band. Todd has sung with the Settles Connection and can be heard in the background vocals on numerous recordings with artists whom you know and love. He comes highly recommended by fellow artists, university faculty, and many others who have had the privilege of working with him.

    “First of all, I want to thank Mark Lowry and Michael English for giving us some really wonderful years and incredible recordings that will live on in gospel music history,” Bill states. “We knew when they left, we had big shoes to fill and, as I have said before, you never truly replace anyone. You have to create something new and unique. I have been putting voices together for a long, long time and never before have we considered more possibilities or auditioned so many incredible singers than we have during the past few months. This decision came down to finding a vocal range and texture that would offer just the right balance to the current mix of voices in the group. I could not be happier with this decision. Not only do we love the rich tones in Todd’s voice, he also happens to be a wonderful human being to be around. So not only have we gained a talented individual, we have gained a new friend. And very soon, I believe you will agree. Trust me. This is going to be good!”

  • Shonlock's We Walk on Water

    Posted on March 20, 2014 by Family Christian

    Shonlock has painted the world a richer shade of love with his musical gifts and faith. His album, A Night to Remember, is a sonic stroll through the journey that changed his life and heart forever. By blurring the lines between rock, pop, hip hop, Shonlock creates music that is both uniquely fresh and accessible, lyrically teasing out the truth of how all of us feel at unforgettable moments in our lives on each song.

    That sentiment lays the groundwork for Shonlock’s debut single, "We Walk on Water."

    Check out his new video here:

    What do you think of it?

  • Kari Jobe - Pioneering New Roads in Worship

    Posted on March 20, 2014 by John van der Veen

    John

    Dictionary.com gives the definition of pioneer in the following ways
    1. a person who is among those who first enter or settle a region, thus opening it for occupation and development by others.
    2. one who is first or among the earliest in any field of inquiry, enterprise, or progress.
    3. one of a group of foot soldiers detailed to make roads.

    For more than 15 years, well-respected worship leader Kari Jobe has been using her gifts to lead people into the presence of God. When she began leading worship at age 13, she never imagined she would be nominated for a GRAMMY®, win a Dove Award or be praised by the New York Times. She only knew she had a heart for broken people and a deep desire to lead them to the cross.

    Pioneer? This may be the word that describes who Kari is and what she hopes to do as an artist.

    I sat down with Kari and asked about her background. Where she came from, how she found Jesus and where is she going.

    Kari is real. She didn't hold back. She has no problem sharing who she is and what she is about. Her new album, Majestic and where God is taking here. Admittedly, her greatest accolade always has been and always will be the opportunity to reflect Christ. “I don’t see myself any differently than when I was 13, just a worship leader,” she admits. “It’s just sometimes I open my eyes and there’s a few more people worshipping God with me.”

    Kari:                I was raised in a Christian family and my mom and dad did ministry, so we were in churches all the time. My parents sang, so as soon as I could pick up a mic I wanted to sing.  I just thought that's just what we do, we sing (laughs).  I just started falling in love with the fact that God ministered to people in worship. That it could reach people in their emotions and really help them in what they were facing. That they didn’t really know what they wanted to say, but that a song helped them.  I just did music all during that.

    As soon as I could be in the worship team at my church I did. Then in college I did the same thing. I just started really diving into just a lot of worship, a lot of leading worship and being on teams and stuff.  When I went to Christ for the Nations I recorded Revelation Song for the first time.  I would say that that song was a big game changer for me.  I just started using it.  People would start calling asking “Hey doesn’t the girl that sing Revelation Song go to your church.”  I was a worship pastor at Gateway Church in Texas.

    The church just started letting me travel a little bit to go and minister outside the four walls of our building.

    John:               Were your parents much of an influence to you as far as helping you lead and worship.  In other words are they musical as well?

    Kari:                Yeah absolutely.  I sang with them when I was in young.  My dad was the youth worship pastor and lead worship a lot for adult services and I just would sing on the team with him and my mom was on the worship team.  I remember sitting, when I was six years old, listening to her sing the alto line of the worship songs at church.  We would have these nights of worship at my church that would last two and three hours of just worship. People just sitting on the floor, all over the room, just to meet with God.  I grew up in that kind of atmosphere and that kind of heritage where we just waited on the presence of God.

    I got really impacted by the fact that depending on God is real, and it’s not just songs. We’re touching heaven with our worship and God is inhabiting the praises of his people and moving in a room and ministering. Speaking to people.

    John:               Kari you said one time, “Worship for me has always been such a rescue place in my life.”  What does that mean when you say that?  What’s behind those words?

    Kari:                This life that we go through comes with lots of surprises. Everyone has a hard time in life. With family or with friends.  I had a very, very dear close family friend go to prison when I turned 18 and with the Lord over that. There are moments were it's just the deep sorrow in everyone's life.  In that moment, I didn’t know what else to do, but to just turn worship music on or get my guitar out and start playing and pouring my heart out to the Lord.  I realized that worship was just a place that God would meet with us and that I could say things, think things and pray. Just pray songs over my heart.  In those moments its a song that was helping me say things to God or helping me find refuge and strength and hope.

    Experiencing that for myself made me realize how powerful it is to be able to do that for other people and to help them do that through music.  Probably what really made me do what I’m doing today because I just experienced that the transformation of my own life because of worship.

    John:               Yeah. I get it.  You obviously have played a lot of both churches as well as church conferences in your musical career.  Do you think the church here in North America is in a healthy place as far as worship is concerned?

    Kari:                I do.  I think that we’re just in a really exciting season of seeing some denominational barriers come down.  I could literally walk into a church and lead worship and not know what denomination I was in that night.  We’re doing a lot of different churches from Assembly of God to Methodist to Baptist.  People are just coming to church so hungry for a move of God and I think we’re just in a really exciting season in the church.

    John:               Speak about that for a moment.  What does that mean when we’re at that season of a "movement of God?"  I think there’s a lot of people that are expecting, almost sensing that type of activity from God moving upon His church.  What do you hope to see?  What does that feel like for you?

    Kari:                I think it’s because people are just so hungry for more.  I’ve watched the church grow in the last 10 years. There are so many more people coming to church.  Churches are having to do so many more services and I see that because I’m going into these churches and I used to do one service where now I’m doing five and six on a weekend because they’re having to do multiple services.  I get to see a lot of different kind of churches all over the nation and internationally, London, Australia, different places.  It just feels that people are just hungry for more of God. Not just wanting to come to church to get preached at, but they’re wanting to be interactive and feel the spirit of God move.

    I think I would just say that it’s just people are hungry and learn a place of expectancy. When "two or three are gathered in My name," we're going to see things because God comes where He’s welcomed.  A little more together than seeing you stare, but there’s something really powerful when people are saying God come and have your way.  Come and move and just opening their hearts up to the Lord to let Him move, not just coming because it’s a weekly duty of “Well it’s Sunday.  I should go to church.”  People are coming because they want to be there and they are hungry for more of a move of God.  I think that’s what we’re experiencing.

    John:               You just mentioned the verse where two are three are gathered in God’s presence.   With that context, you set out into the making of the new record.  In the context of community.  You set out ona journey of making this record within a community type of approach.  It wasn’t just Kari Jobe by herself.  You had other people speaking into the songs. Some of those would include Paul Baloche, Matt Redman.  You had Tomlin with you, Brian Johnson from Bethel Music, others.  Was that a different approach for you compared to the other two albums that you made?

    Kari:                I always like to co-write.  I love collaborating with other writers.  On this album I mainly collaborated with worship and congregational church writers and people who get it. That really have a heart for congregational worship.  That was my main theme and my main focus for the church and for songs people want to sing in church.

    John:               Was it fun to sit down with those guys?

    Kari:                Oh amazing.  It’s amazing too to just sit down with people who have hearts and like-minded desires.  All of us. Matt. Chris. Brian Johnson - that was our main goal in our heart.  Just to see the church singing songs and anthems. To sit with them and just to hear what they’re sensing for the church, what I’m sensing for the church and what God wants to say. You know I think back to the stuff that we read in 1st & 2nd Chronicles about the Levites and how David would send the worshipers out first and that the worshipers would lead the way into war.

    There’s something that is happening when worship leaders get together and we say what we’re seeing and what we’re experiencing because it’s the same today as it is back then in the Old Testament.  We see things and we can sense what Gods doing. We are asking those questions of God. "What do you want to say to the church?"  "What do you want the church singing?" It’s just powerful first to all do that together.

    John:               That’s quite an experience for sure.

    Kari:                Yeah it really is and to see what songs are working and what songs aren’t working.  It’s like people and the army of Israel would get together and say “This is what’s working in battle and this is what’s not working."  "We need to get rid of this and we need to keep doing this other thing.”  It’s the same thing with the Spirit and we’re tapping in the church and in the spiritual realm.  What’s working and what’s moving and what’s happening in the church in these songs?  Let’s write some more of those.

    John:               Yeah.  Kari this new record is a live album is a little different than other new records. I mean technically when an artist does a live record, they usually go through their catalog and sing songs from previous albums and that’s what makes the live record. You didn’t do that though.  You became very vulnerable. You went out to a concert setting with a list of new songs and recorded them live.  How was that process?

    Kari:                (Laughs) it was awesome.  It was really exciting because people were just as soon as they were catching on that night they were singing them at the top of their lungs.  It was just exciting.  I think everyone knew too coming into that they were going to be new songs so there’s different kind of expectancy with that.  People were ready.  They’ve got their thinking caps on and they’re ready to go and they came ready to help me do a live album.  You could tell.  I told them before we pressed the record button, I don’t care if you sing, even if you know the lyrics or not.

    I told them that I just want them to be interceding for the people that will hear these songs for the first time. That I want to capture the sound and I want to capture an atmosphere on worship on the project that doesn’t have anything to do with the lyrics.  It just has everything to do with the spirit of God being welcomed into this room and moving on this album.  There were times you could hear people praying and times you could just hear people speaking the name of Jesus and that’s just as powerful as them singing any of the songs or any of the lyrics.  We’re capturing the sound of worship.  It was pretty amazing how people just showed up to really help me do the album.

    John:               Kari are you a book reader?

    Kari:                Sometimes (laughing).

    John:               What’s on your book shelf right now that you’re reading?

    Kari:                That’s awesome of you to ask because I just downloaded a new one last night from Bill Johnson called Hosting the Presence.  I’m reading that.  I’m readings Christine Caine's book Undaunted.  I like to read books that really challenge me to keep moving forward and being a pioneer and being someone who just wants God. Wants and wants to be a vessel of the Holy Spirit.  I read some dangerous type books (laughs).

    John:               Do you view yourself as a pioneer?

    Kari:                I do, yeah.

    John:               Yeah, kind of breaking new ground in a sense.

    Kari:                Yes, that’s what I hope to be or I would like to be known as a pioneer in worship.

    John:               Yeah I think that’s a good name for you.

    Kari:                Thank you.

    John:               Moving away from the record besides leading worship, what else do you really enjoy doing?

    Kari:                I love longboard skateboard.  I went for a skate this morning.

    John:               Really.

    Kari:                The weather’s amazing here today.  I love shopping.  I have a new baby nephew and he’s amazing.  I’m a daughter, I’m a sister and a longboard skateboarder and I’m really a fanatic about social media (laughing).

    John:               That’s awesome.  Where can we find you on Instagram?

    Kari:                Just my full name Kari Jobe.

    John:               Got it.  Kari thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me today.  I really appreciate it.

    Kari:                Yeah absolutely.

    The truth is, Kari may now lead worship for thousands around the world, thanks to an expanding platform, but for her, the songs birthed for Majestic have nothing to do with her. “It’s not about me,” she emphasizes. “If it became about me, that would be dangerous and wrong. It’s about Him. It’s a great honor and a great responsibility, but it’s not any different than me just living my life every day needing Him in my circumstances.”

    Kari's new album will be available in CD, CD/DVD and DVD.

  • The Joy of Following Christ - from Gareth Gilkeson

    Posted on March 19, 2014 by Family Christian

    Gareth

    I remember a few years ago sitting, watching the sunrise. It was a typical misty Irish morning and there was a magical stillness in the air. Something happened that day that I didn't see coming. You see I grew up in church. I've been surrounded by the fact that Jesus loves me since I was born but that day, something new flooded my soul. My eyes were opened and I was totally overwhelmed by the reality of God, that I was not alone, lost in life, that I was not condemned but that I was free. I don't know what happened but this all uncontrollable urge took over me. I jump on my feet and started sprinting through the fields like a wild man, laughing and crying with pure joy. That was my first taste of the art of celebration.

    Since that day I've learned that life has a way of draining that childlike wonder from us, whether through our own failures or disappointments, whether it's suffering or betrayal, or even just familiarity. That's why we put up our defenses, isn't it? That's why we become numb. We pull back from life and become spectators because we're afraid of being hurt again. The good news is Jesus is always doing a new thing. He's not finished with us yet. We may doubt. We may feel like we are broken beyond repair but he is the peace in our troubled sea. He is the healer of the brokenhearted.

    Recently, we made a theological breakthrough as a community and it’s changed everything about our approach. We realized that seriousness is not a fruit of the spirit but joy is.

    You see there's an irrepressible laughter in the heart of God and whole universe cannot contain it. He is the one who invented celebrations and feasting and holidays. He is the one who sings and dances over us. When he suffered the cross, he did it for the joy set before him and that joy was knowing that you and I would be fully free, no longer captive to our sin. Yes, the whole human story is described in terms of a celebration. The marriage of Christ to his bride, the church. Our God is the ultimate artist of celebration. The inventor of the party and the healer of the broken.

    Happiness is not the same thing as joy. Happiness is an emotion, a superficial response to pleasant circumstances, but joy is deeper. It's a spiritual discipline. We, as people, are much more inclined towards negativity and cynicism. We don't find it easy or even natural to pursuit joy, and that's why God and his word actually command us to celebrate. We must wrestle for our blessing. We must fight for our joy. How do we then remind ourselves as a wounded church family that we still have a reason to sing? How do we move from the edges and fringes of the party into the center?

    The Bible says taste and see that the Lord is good, and to do that, we have to once again open up our hearts to wonder and beauty. I'm not saying to be fake or put on a false smile, but rather to always find a reason to rejoice even if we're in the darkest circumstances. We come with the gospel worth celebrating before our celebrating came. And we think our response as worshipers should be obvious. We need to get down to the serious business of joy because the joy of the Lord is our strength, and after all, heaven is going to be the greatest party of all time and we need to start practicing now.

    So don't get caught up on your guilt or failure. You are forgiven. You are free and you're worth more to God than you could ever imagine. Come on, with a childlike heart, wide-eyed with wonder, let's rediscover the art of celebration.

    For more from Gareth and his band, the Rend Collective, click here.

  • THE ART OF CELEBRATION STORY - REND COLLECTIVE

    Posted on March 18, 2014 by Family Christian

    Dove Award-nominated Irish worshipers and modern day psalmists Rend Collective made a theological breakthrough as a band that is changing everything about their approach to music and life: seriousness is not a fruit of the spirit, but joy is. This heightened understanding led to a sonically innovative message on the band's fourth album, The Art of Celebration.

    The lead single from the album, "My Lighthouse," carries forward the choice to celebrate God’s brightness in the midst of "troubled seas." Anyone who has experienced the controlled chaos and infectious wildness of a Rend Collective concert will know that celebration and joy have always been at the core for these worship artists.

    Take a few moments and watch the them explain what is behind their new album.

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