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  • How to Study the Bible: 10 Practical Tips to help you Understand God’s Word

    The Bible is a love letter, a set of instructions, the inspired Word of God and so much more. But if we’re honest, it can also be confusing, overwhelming and intimidating. With so many authors, parables and translations, it can be difficult to wrap your head around all the Bible has to offer. Get into the Word and begin to better understand the Gospel with these Bible study tips.

    10 Bible Study Tips

    1. Prepare Your Heart: Say a prayer of thankfulness before diving into God’s Word. This will align your heart and your mind as you seek to know Him more.
    2. Strive For Consistency: Whether you’re a morning person or a night owl, try to set aside a consistent time every day to dig into scripture.
    3. Set The Tone: Listen to praise and worship music before getting started to focus your heart and your mind. Stock up on your favorite tunes with our Buy One Get One 50% Off sale on all music.
    4. Avoid Distractions: Be honest with yourself about what pulls your focus away from God and avoid it during your quiet time.
    5. Engage With Community: While individual time with God is important, spending time getting to know Him with your brothers and sisters in Christ can be incredibly effective.
    6. Make Time: If you can’t find time to sit in God’s presence, write down everything you do for a few days. You’ll likely notice patterns and identify areas that are consuming you.
    7. Change Up Your Technique: Don’t be afraid to use more than one devotional or tool to avoid falling into a rut. Use a Study Bible or document your journey with God in a Journaling Bible.
    8. Revisit Verses: The beauty of God’s Word is that it is alive. This means scripture may speak differently to you depending on what season you are in.
    9. Pick Out Patterns: The Bible is full of promises, warnings and instructions. Choose a color for each theme and highlight passages that relate.
    10. Ask For Clarity: Ask God for clarity when you don’t understand something. He is ready and willing to impart His wisdom if we simply ask.

    What are some of your go-to Bible study tips?

  • Hillsong UNITED Brings EMPIRES Tour To The United States

    Nashville, Tenn. (February 3, 2016) – After recent stops in India, Singapore and Indonesia, Billboard Music Award winners Hillsong UNITED will bring their highly acclaimed EMPIRES tour to the United States, featuring special guests Rend Collective. In their first touring return to North America since 2013, EMPIRES tour will kick off February 11 in Sunrise, Fla. and end with two dates in Honolulu, Hawaii. Due to sold-out shows, additional dates have already been added to the band's U.S. trek. 

    The Australian-based Hillsong UNITED has a long history of sold-out shows in the United States, including notable venues such as the famed Hollywood Bowl (Los Angeles), Staples Center (Los Angeles), Red Rocks (Denver), ShoWare Center (Seattle), Gwinnett Center (Atlanta) and BankUnited Center (Miami). Hillsong UNITED holds the record for largest attendance ever in the Sears Centre Arena (Chicago, IL), outdrawing concerts there by such legendary performers as Billy Joel, Elton John and the Eagles. Since 2006, Hillsong UNITED has toured six continents and 42 nations. 

    “We haven’t really done our own thing in the USA since WelcomeZion 2013, so we are super excited to be bringing the EMPIRES tour to the states,” shares Joel Houston of Hillsong UNITED.  “We write songs to be sung with people – they are always for the people – so when we get to sing these songs with people on the road, it is the purpose of why we do what we do! We can’t wait to worship with people singing all the new EMPIRES songs as well as everyone’s favorites.”

    “Say The Word," the latest single from Hillsong UNITED's EMPIRES is currently impacting radio. The track picked up 30 adds in only two weeks. EMPIRES strongly debuted in Spring 2015 at No. 1 on Billboard's Christian Albums Chart and No. 5 on the Billboard Top 200. The album was met with appearances on The Today Show and Yahoo! along with critical acclaim from the likes of USA Today and The New York Times which remarked their talent as “a musical powerhouse.” 

    Hillsong United Tour 2016

    For more information on the EMPIRES tour, visit hillsong.com/united/#tours.

    EMPIRES 2016 Tour
    February 11 – BB&T Center – Sunrise, FL
    February 12 – CFE Arena (University of Central Florida) – Orlando, FL
    February 13/14 – USF Sun Dome – Tampa, FL
    February 15 - Smoothie King Center - New Orleans, LA
    February 16 – FedEx Forum – Memphis, TN
    February 18 – Cedar Park Center – Austin, TX
    February 19 – American Airlines Center – Dallas, TX
    February 20 – United Supermarkets Arena (Texas Tech University) – Lubbock, TX
    February 22 – Gila River Arena – Phoenix, AZ
    February 23 – Citizens Business Bank Arena – Ontario, CA
    February 26/27 – Neal Blaisdell Arena – Honolulu, HI

    About UNITED: UNITED is a worship band that originally rose out of the youth ministry of Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia. This progressive worship band is a global recording and touring entity sent out to share the ever-evolving worship music of Hillsong Church to an international audience through live performances and records. UNITED desires to see a generation across the earth awakened to real love, rising up with hearts as one and finding value in the broken, hurting and lost connecting with Jesus.

    The Billboard Music Award winner’s newest record EMPIRES debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard Top 200 to critical support from The New York Times, The Today Show, USA Today and Yahoo! Most recently, Hillsong UNITED was named the Top Christian Artist of 2015 by Billboard Magazine. Selling out venues across multiple continents, Hillsong UNITED have filled major U.S. venues including Staples Center (Los Angeles), Radio City Music Hall (New York City), Red Rocks Amphitheater (Denver) and more. It is estimated that over 30 million people sing their songs each week, among those, their platinum selling single “Oceans."

    About Hillsong Church: In August 1983, Brian and Bobbie Houston founded the Hills Christian Life Centre in the Hills District of Sydney, Australia. It has grown from a congregation of 45 to what is said to be the largest local church in Australian history. It has now expanded to be a global church with local expressions in significant cities; with churches in Australia, London, New York, Los Angeles, Paris, Cape Town, Stockholm, Germany, Kiev, Amsterdam and Copenhagen. Each week, tens of thousands of people across the globe call Hillsong Church ‘home’ and the reach, impact and influence of this local congregation is seen across many nations.

    Order your own copy of  Open Heaven/River Wild today.

    Open Heaven/River Wild
  • Hymns That Are Important to Us

    GRAMMY®-nominated, husband-and-wife country music duo Joey+Rory have announced the release of an all-new recording.  Hymns That Are Important to Us (Gaither Music Group).

    Hymns that are important to us

    “I refer to [this] as Joey’s album--the one she’s always wanted to make–filled with the hymns she grew up singing,” described Rory.  “It was early in the spring when we started talking about the record…we began recording it in a studio in Nashville early in the summer, just after recovering from her first big surgery in Chicago.  She championed it…and even with all she’s gone through there might have been a few things that changed, but that record was not gonna stop….

    “So we recorded in between some of her treatments after the surgery.  Sometimes in the evenings I would get out a microphone, and my wife sang the vocals in our hotel room in Atlanta because she wanted to see this record happen.  She did her vocals where she could--in hotel rooms, at our house, wherever and whenever she felt up to singing.”

    As reported on Rory’s blog www.thislifeilive.com and covered by major media outlets across the country, Joey has been fighting Stage 4 cancer for over six months.  During that time she and Rory have turned to family, friends and their faith as never before.  And they have turned to hymns—timeless melodies with messages that continue to carry them through a difficult and inspiring journey of faith.

    Hymns that are important to us

    The songs Joey picked and the words she recorded were especially significant to her as she has found strength in them through her highly-publicized health battle.  The release features songs such as “It Is Well with My Soul,” “How Great Thou Art,” “I Surrender All” and “I Need Thee Every Hour.” 

    “A lot has taken place in a year’s time, but through it all these songs have given me such strength,” stated Joey.  “They’ve given me such hope, and they give me something to look forward to.  I think that a lot of times when we don’t know what to say…you don’t know what to pray…you don’t know how to even begin…I think that’s, for me, where these hymns have come into play so much…

    ’Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, help me stand.  I’m tired…I’m weak…I’m worn.  Through the storm, through the night, lead me on to the light, take my hand, precious Lord, lead me home.’

    “I remember waking up--it was about two days after my surgery--at one point in the middle of the night,” recalled Joey.  “I’m hooked up to every machine possible; and out of just complete thankfulness that I came through, I remember having the strength to sit up enough, and my hands just elevated over my head, and I sang [the hymn], ‘I need Thee, oh I need Thee, every hour I need thee….’

    “Every hour He got me through…and it was hard, and I needed Him every hour, and I still do to this day—there are days that are just hard.  [This song] has got us through so much at every hour that we needed Him…He continues to watch over us and take care of us.  People every day who don’t have cancer who are dealt with trials or family issues or whatever it might be…we need Him.  It doesn’t matter what it is, and when we think that we can get by on our own we’re so wrong….”

    “[Hymns] have met generations of people at their moments of need, which is incredible,” Rory described.  “As a songwriter…we’re moved that someone will sing along with one of our songs today, but imagine them singing along with one of our songs in 100 years.  That’s an incredible achievement, and I think it’s mostly because there are things that don’t last and things that do.  What these songs are about--they’re gonna matter then just as much as they do now, just as much as they did 100 years ago.  That’s pretty special.

    “In early October, we even did a TV taping of these songs in the concert hall at our farm in front of a live audience,” described Rory.  “Joey was weak and it was difficult for her, but she was determined…these are the songs that are most important to her….”

    The family has spent the past few months in Joey’s hometown of Alexandria, Indiana, near Joey’s family.  Rory and their daughter Heidi went into Bill Gaither’s nearby studio to add harmony parts to Joey’s lead vocals for the recording while in that area.  The DVD includes a special, behind-the-scenes interview with Gaither and Joey+Rory recorded at their farm in Tennessee; and the audio recording includes a moving re-release of the song “When I’m Gone,” found on Joey+Rory’s His and Hers recording (Sugar Hill Records/Vanguard Records, divisions of Concord Music Group, Inc.), a fan favorite.

    Both the Hymns are Important to Us CD and DVD are available at your local Family Christian or on our website.  You may purchase the CD here and the DVD here.

  • Interview with Matthew West

    Matthew West is releasing a new album called Live Forever.  We had the honor of interviewing Matthew.

    Family Christian:  What was your main goal as you were making this album, Live Forever? Take us through a little bit of the process.

    Matthew West:  Six years ago I had the idea to write some songs inspired by peoples’ true stories and see what God might do with it. Six years, 40,000 stories and now 3 records later, I’m blown away by what an amazing experience this has been! Live Forever is my third project inspired by the testimonies that people have sent to me. In the last couple records, I wrote songs that covered a number of different types of chapters that many of us have in our stories. This record looks forward at the chapters of our stories that we are writing write now, and the chapters that are still to come.

    Each song on the record is inspired by someone’s true story. So these songs mean a lot to me, because when I sing them, I’m thinking of that one person who shared their testimony and I’m amazed by how God can use all of our stories if we will choose to let him.

    Family Christian:   How do you think your latest release, Live Forever, speaks to listeners? What do you hope listeners think and feel after listening to your album?

     

    Matthew West:   I hope listeners get so fired up by the messages on this record! This is a victory album. A reminder that God’s mercy is new every single morning. A reminder that our best days are not behind us, they are in front of us. Even musically, my aim was to move forward. I didn’t want to make the same style of music. I wanted to move forward in my sound and in the lyrics. Starting over, starting now…

    Family Christian:   What does the title of your new album mean? How was it chosen and what significance does it have?

     

    Matthew West:   This record carries a message that in many ways flies in the face of the message the world sends to us. This world tells us things like YOLO—You Only Live Once. That sounds real good, but it’s an empty thought. The world lives like our legacy ends the day we die and so the emphasis is on making these moments last forever. But we know this life is temporary. And we also know that for those who choose to follow Jesus, there is the ultimate hope that we can live forever. The songs and stories on this record all point to the reminder that between the day we are born and the day we die, there is a dash. God offers us a way to live our dash, our story in such a way that it leaves a legacy behind us and secures an eternity in front of us. That is how we live forever.

    Family Christian:    Who was Matthew West when your first album came out? Who is Matthew West now?

    Matthew West:   That’s a good question. I was a young songwriter with a calling on my life that I was going to be part of a new generation of voices telling the world about Jesus through song. I guess not much has changed on that front. But I have changed, and hopefully I have grown in many other ways. I think it’s so amazing how God does have a calling placed on each one of our lives, and the more we follow him into his plan for our lives, the more layers he peels back, and the more we begin to see and understand what God had planned all along. Today, I feel like I’m in my sweet spot in many ways. God has blessed me with an amazing wife and two incredible children. He has combined my passion for story with a platform to tell the world how God is the author of redemption in all of our lives.

    Family Christian:   To expand on the previous question, How have you changed over the years when it comes to songwriting, recording and producing music? Do you have the same goals?

    Matthew West:   Well, for starters, I used to use songwriting as a vehicle to tell my story to the world. Now, I’ve found fulfillment in sharing that spotlight with thousands of people who are brave enough to believe that God can speak through their stories. I’d like to think I have continued to push boundaries musically and also topically. I guess I used to write songs with the masses in mind. These days, I find myself reading someone’s story and thinking, “I want to write a song for this one person.” It’s amazing that with such a finite focus, I’ve been writing songs that have been pretty universally relatable. I guess that’s how God works.

  • Passion: The Essential Collection CD and a Giveaway!

    Available November 10, Passion: The Essential Collection is a collection of 15 powerful songs, talks and performances from the Passion Movement. Since the first release in 1998, Passion albums have sold over 1.5 million units while introducing the church to worship songs like 'Our God,' ‘Lord I Need You,' 'How Great Is Our God,' and 'God Of This City.'

    The Passion Movement and the messages of founder Louie Giglio have marked the lives of millions of people around the globe, calling people everywhere to live for the glory of God. From its inception, the Passion Movement has birthed new anthems of worship, influencing countless churches and helping to define the current worship climate and establish artists Chris Tomlin, Crowder, Matt Redman, Christy Nockels, Kristian Stanfill and others. Louie Giglio is the pastor and founder of Passion City Church in Atlanta, GA.

    What makes Passion: The Essential Collection so neat and unique is that it comes with DVDs and the CD.  You will get the music and know and love from Passion artists.  However, you get bonus DVDs that have music videos.  Additionally you will get DVDs with discussions from Louie Giglio!  Amazing deal!  You can purchase the cd from Family Christian stores today either in stores or online.

    • TRACK LISTING CD 1. Holy Is The Lord (Chris Tomlin) 2. One Thing Remains (Kristian Stanfill) 3. 10,000 Reasons [Bless The Lord] (Matt Redman) 4. Our God (Chris Tomlin) 5. How He Loves (David Crowder*Band) 6. Healing Is In Your Hands (Christy Nockels) 7. Whom Shall I Fear [God Of Angel Armies] (Chris Tomlin) 8. You Never Let Go (Matt Redman) 9. Amazing Grace [My Chains Are Gone] (Chris Tomlin) 10. Better Is One Day (Charlie Hall) 11. In Christ Alone (Kristian Stanfill) 12. God Of This City (Chris Tomlin) 13. Like A Lion (David Crowder*Band) 14. Waiting Here For You (Christy Nockels) 15. How Great Is Our God (Chris Tomlin) 

      DVD Song Videos 1. The Lord Our God (Kristian Stanfill) 2. Let It Be Jesus (Christy Nockels) 3. Mercy [From Lift] (Matt Redman) 4. White Flag (Chris Tomlin) 5. Here’s My Heart (Crowder) 6. My Heart Is Yours (Kristian Stanfill) 7. God’s Great Dance Floor (Chris Tomlin)

      Talks by Louie Giglio

      1. Let’s Work It Out (From Passion: 2010) 2. We Will Carry The Name (From Passion: 2011) 3. Raise To Life By The Breath Of A Living God (From Passion: 2013)

      4. Crushed By Grace (From Passion: 2014)

       

      Meanwhile our friends at Capitol, are offering an amazing prize package! One lucky person will win the following collection of cds:

      Passion: The Essential Collection

      Passion-Take it All

      Crowder-Neon Steeple

      David Crowder Band-All this For a King

      Tomlin-Love Ran Red Deluxe version

      Christy Nockels-Into the Glorious

      Matt Redman-Your Grace Finds Me Live

      Kristian Stanfill-Mountains Move

       

       

  • Interview with Michael W. Smith

    The other day, I had the honor of interviewing Michael W. Smith! Enjoy!

    Kristen Jeffery

    Social Media Coordinator at Family Christian

     

    FC: Hello Michael! How are you doing?

     

    MWS:  Doing great! Thank you!

     

    FC: Well, I know you just released your newest cd, The Spirit of Christmas, so it is only natural that we ask a Christmas question.  Can you share with us a favorite Christmas memory that you have?

     

    MWS: Just growing up in my house…all the kids…. I mean I don’t even know where to start.  We have our traditions. Christmas is a BIG thing at the Smith house.  Just huge!   We’d pull out the Christmas albums every September 1; everyone opens a present on Christmas Eve.   A great Christmas memory is probably when I got my first red, sparkling drum set when I was 7 years old.  You know, I thought I’d died and gone to Heaven!  I’ll never for forget that.

     

    FC: Speaking of gifts, do you have a favorite gift that you received for Christmas?  I know mine was the Barbie Ice cream shop

     

    MWS: Love that!

     

    FC: I did too! Was yours your drum set?

     

    MWS: Probably so.  It was a game changer for me.

     

    FC: I heard a quote from you that in your 31-year career, The Spirit of Christmas is the most unique album you’ve created.  Can you expound on that for us?

     

    MWS:  Well I think it’s unique because of all the people who are on it.  I’ve never actually had as many guest artists on an album in my life, other than the artists that were on the worship album that sang in my choir.  These are people that are stepping out.  I’m singing solos with them and people that are mostly not from my genre, you know Contemporary Christian music.  This is an A Level group of amazing people.  Carrie Underwood being one of them. Bono’s on the record.  I mean it’s just insane.  I’m just sort of pinching myself that we actually pulled it off.

     

    FC: I’m sure.  When I was looking at the list of artists performing with you, it’s going to reach such a huge audience!  You’re hitting all the different tastes that people could have for the different genres of music and different talent it’s just phenomenal!

     

    MWS:  Well I think so.  You know I think we have something really special going on.  Just take me out of the equation and I think it’s just an amazing record, just from what these people brought to the project.  It’s pretty off the charts.

     

     

     

    FC: That sounds amazing! I know I will be picking up a few copies for my family this year.  You’ve got a tour going on this year and some confirmed tour dates for 2015 as well.  Is there anything else you are working on right now?

     

    MWS:  No, I did an exclusive album for Cracker Barrel that I worked on and then Sovereign came out in May and then the Christmas record and it’s just like wow! 3 records in one year for me.  Pretty crazy!

     

    FC: Here at Family Christian we believe strongly in the power of prayer.  In fact, we have a team that gathers daily to lift others up in prayer.  So how can we be praying for you right now?

     

    MWS:  You know what, probably just it’s such a busy, busy time.  It’s pretty non-stop from now till the end of the year, till Christmas.  Just pray for my health, for protection as we travel everywhere. I think just some of those things.  Kristen, business can wear you out if you don’t watch it so please pray that I’ll get my rest and that we will all stay healthy on the road and my family as well.  Thank you very much!

     

    FC: Thank you Michael! Have a blessed Christmas season!

  • Interview with We Are Leo

     

    By: Kristen Jeffery, Social Media Coordinator at Family Christian

    This week I had the opportunity to speak with David from We Are Leo.  Read the full interview below.

    FC: Hello! Thank you for your time today.  I hear you all are gearing up for a new tour.  Can you tell us about it?

     

    David from We Are Leo: Absolutely.  We are on for part of the Acquire the Fire tour that is starting in Spring.  We’ve done Acquire the Fire in the past, and it came to Lansing and I think there was about 7,000 people there.  I think the greatest thing about it to me is that I get to talk to all the fans after the show and just pray with them and talk to them and share our stories with them.

    FC: I have actually been enjoying your new single “You’re the Best Thing”, here in my office.  What does this song mean to you?

    David from We Are Leo: This is for my testimony.  I came out my teenage years sort of feeling really lost and  just fighting a lot of depression and loneliness.   And with my story of reaching out to Christ and Him coming and rescuing my life, that was such an epic change for me to be like God  loved me and to feel loved instead of rejected and at that point I realized this is what I have been looking for my whole life and for me singing this song “You’re the Best Thing” is coming back to that point and being thankful and remembering that God changed my life and despite the busyness or whatever else comes along in my day to day life I want to remember that He is always the best thing.

    FC: Your new album is called “Fightback Soundtrack” and it releases tomorrow (10/14).  What do you hope that people take away from your new album?

    David from We Are Leo: Yes. I think the overarching theme of this is bravery and not being afraid.  In the Bible it talks so much about not being anxious and Paul talks about not being anxious and I love that relationship and the idea of being strong and courageous.  Fightback Soundtrack,  the whole idea of it is ‘Yeah,  you need to be strong in the Lord and when things come against you and things happen you’re not defeated and you can overcome those things and keep your head up. ‘  And to be brave because God’s love can make us brave.  That’s what I hope people will take away.

    FC: What changes can your fans expect from “Hello” to “Fightback Soundtrack”?

    David from We Are Leo: That’s an awesome question!  Way to go!   This record we made it on our own.  In November we decided it was decision time.  We felt like God was telling us to keep being persistent and that we have things to share and talents that He was calling us to use.  We put it up on Kickstarter and it came through on the last hour of the last day. 

    FC: Awesome! Making it even more of a God story right?

    David from We Are Leo: It is totally a God story!  Totally.  I really can’t even believe it really happened. I think on this album you will hear a more mature sound and get a feel for what we truly sound like.

    FC: We have a prayer team here at Family Christian and we meet daily to pray for others.  How can we specifically be praying for you?

    David from We Are Leo: Thank you.  Be praying for wisdom.  And be praying that these songs will be heard by those who need it the most.    

  • Interview with Matthew West

    Recently Family Christian was able to interview artist Matthew West.  Please read the interview below and be looking for his release of "Believe" on October 14th.  His single "A Christmas to Believe in" is sure to speak to your heart this Christmas season.  We are thrilled that his album is going to be available exclusively at Family Christian stores!

    FC: Matthew, Hello! How are you?

     

    MW:  I am doing great.  Thanks to you, I've been in the Christmas spirit since July!

     

    FC: Thank you for taking the time to talk with us today.  You know we are so excited for your October 14th release of Believe.  Can you tell us about the inspiration behind your song “A Christmas to Believe in” ?

     

    MW:  When I was asked to write a song based on this broader theme of "believe," the first title idea that popped into my head for some reason was, "A Christmas To Believe In."  Something just felt classic and special about that.  Then, I began to unpack all of things that title could mean.  One of the things I wrote down on my lyrics sheet one day was a list of titles that substituted other words where the word "believe" would be.  I began to think of what, sadly, Christmas might actually feel like for so many hurting people.  For the person battling depression around the holidays, they might say it's  "A Christmas to SURVIVE."  For the unemployed father who's worried about providing for his family, he might be feeling like it's "A Christmas to try to AFFORD." For the family that's been torn apart and is dreading the one time of year that they all have to be under one roof it could be looked at as "A Christmas to ENDURE." And the list went on and on.  I guess this song is my wish for people, that they will be reminded this December how the word "believe" is powerful enough to erase all of those other words we might be using to describe this Christmas; that the One we believe in is strong enough to flood our hearts with hope this year and show us what a Christmas to Believe In is really like.

     

     

    FC:  What is your favorite Christmas memory from your childhood?

     

    MW:  My favorite Christmas memory is actually in the final lyrics of this song.  "It's grandpa's bible opened up, to Luke chapter two..."  Every Christmas morning my dad would stop us before opening all of the presents and we would read the story of the birth of Christ. There was something very centering about that moment before the chaos ensued; our hearts were brought back to the reason why each Christmas really is a Christmas to believe in.

     

    FC:  I hear that you are currently working on your next project and I’d love to hear about it.

     

    MW:  Yes, I'm very excited about it!  And I'm also a bit nervous.  But those are always two emotions that seem to precede every record I do, and those are two emotions that seem to always mean that something special is around the corner in my life and in my journey of faith.  With this new record, I'm a man on a mission encouraging people to become a storyTELLER, not just a storyKEEPER.  I have been encouraging folks over the past few years with my records that their life is a story that God is telling, but there is not power in simply keeping that story to ourselves, God wants to use our story to change the world.  So, I'm giving people a chance to tell me their story.  We've received thousands of stories at my website so far, and I'm spending two months hidden away in a cabin reading every one of them and writing the new songs!

     

    FC:  Thanks again for your time today Matthew.  All of us here at Family Christian are incredibly honored that you wrote “A Christmas to Believe in” for us to have in our stores and online.  We want to take the time to thank you again.  We truly appreciate it.  It does mean a lot to us.

     

    MW:  I was honored to write the song for this project, and I hope the heartbeat of the song's message will ring true for all who get the chance to hear it this Christmas.

     

    FC:  One last question: We believe strongly in the power of prayer and we would like to ask you how we can be praying for you.

     

    MW:  I would appreciate your prayers for my time spent in the cabin reading stories and writing these new songs.  I want my heart to be open to what God is showing me and I am praying that I continue to write songs that tell the greatest story ever told!

     

    FC: Thank you Matthew.  Take care and be blessed.

  • Finding Peace as a Christian Artist

    Chelsea

    I remember it distinctly-- the song “One of Us” by Joan Osborne softly played on the radio in my mom's car. My interest peaked as I listened to the words “what if God was one of us?”

    My version of Jesus was a perfect man wearing iridescent clothing, floating in the sky and shaking his head at my life decisions. Yet, these lyrics described a different Jesus-- someone who understood my pain, who could relate to me, and maybe even talk to me.

    At that time, I rejected the idea of Christianity, avoiding Christian music at all costs. Oddly enough, the secular-- even controversial-- song, “One of Us” still lingered in the back of my mind, along with the idea of a loving Jesus. Music was especially close to my heart since I had just started writing songs. As the years rolled by, my music evolved with it.

    Then at age 19, I gave my life to Christ. I began listening to Christian music non-stop to fuel up and draw close to God. That was about the time I ran into a dilemma-- now that I was a Christian, was I supposed to write Christian music?

    I tried over and over again to write a “Christian song”, but it usually felt unnatural and forced. My style of writing had always been metaphorical and illustrative, where the listener could derive their own interpretation and personally connect with the music.

    Every time I wrote a “Christian song”, I felt like I was robbing the song of its true story by spelling out how the reader should think and feel. I was living passionately for God, but I felt guilty every time I wrote a song that didn't explicitly say “God” or “Jesus” in it.

    Then God opened my mind.

    I took a break from songwriting and He showed me how limitless He really was. I began hearing him in songs that I once considered “secular”. I heard him in the quiet melodies of an acoustic guitar, in the gut-wrenchingly honest words of a broken-hearted songwriter, and even in the soaring harmony of a symphony.

    I realized that God is everywhere-- he's in every type of music, whether it's in the “Christian” genre or not.

    That revelation helped me reconcile my faith with my voice as an artist. I let God pour through my songwriting, without any fear or inhibitions getting in the way. As a result, I finally have peace as a Christian artist.

    For more about Brian and Chelsea, visit: brianandchelseamusic.com

  • Matthew West - New single. New album.

    >Matthew West returns with his new album, Into the Light on September 25th. Continuing his journey of drawing inspiration from true stories of people’s lives, he’s written an album of all-new songs including the first single “Forgiveness,” which tells the story of a mother forgiving the drunk driver that took her daughter’s life.

    Into the Light encourages people to embrace the hope and restoration in Christ, in the middle of life’s toughest challenges.

     

    Here is the first single from Matthew, Forgiveness, done acoustically.

    Also, here is Forgiveness again, but the lyric video.

    For more on Matthew West, click here. To purchase his new single, click here.

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