Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Fresh Beginnings

Hey Friends!

I'm so thankful that New Year's Day is only a week after Christmas. You see, I love Christmas and it's always kind of sad to me when it's over. But then New Year's is only one week later and I love fresh beginnings.

January is a time to start over. It signals the completion of one year and the beginning of a fresh new one. I love finishing things. Like when I have a list of to-do's and I can scratch off each item on the list at its completion. It's a satisfying feeling. Finishing out 2010 is a satisfying thing for me. Each year comes with it's blessings and it's struggles, and each year I make it through is a small victory. Or maybe it's a large one. After all, our lives are made up of years. And our lives are not insignificant.

I have always been bothered by people who are ashamed of their age. I think it is a sign of how backward our society is. We value foolish youth and beauty over aged wisdom. But I suppose, part of the shame of being a year older comes from knowing, deep down inside, that your end is nearer. However, for those of us in Christ, this is not the case. Every year, we are not only wiser-- if the Lord permits-- but we are also one year closer to our completion. As it is right now, we are like fish out of water. Or as the writer to the Hebrew church so eloquently put it, we are "foreigners and strangers on the earth" (Heb. 11:13).

As January 1st rolls around, I not only look to the coming year, but also to the coming King. Yes, we just celebrated our King's birth last week. He is with us even until the end of the age. But He is not here physically. We cannot see His face or hear His voice. We have His words in the Scriptures, but we have to have faith that He is the One who has spoken them.

To be honest with you, I miss Him.

Sometimes I have found myself wondering, what's taking Him so long to return? I mean, really, what's up with this 2000 year delay? I used to think that the Bible didn't answer this question. But I was wrong. Check out this Scripture:

"The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance," 2 Peter 3:9.

Or how about these:

"This is what is written: the Messiah would suffer and rise from the dead the third day, and repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning at Jerusalem," Luke 24:46-47.

"The good news of the kingdom will be proclaimed in all the world as a testimony to all nations. And then the end will come," Matt. 24:14.

Has the gospel been preached to all the nations yet? To our shame, it has not. We've had 2000 years to preach the gospel, and yet there are well over 2 billion people in the world who have never heard the name of Christ.

So as 2010 comes to a close and we rejoice that we are one year closer to our King's return, let us remember that 2011 arrives with fresh opportunity in its wings to hasten the Lord's coming. Our work here is not complete. He will not return until we have finished the task. Thankfully, He's patient like that.

Happy New Year!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Favorite Songs of 2010

Hello Friends!

I love to make year-end lists of my favorite music and this year is no exception. So here are the songs I've been listening to the most in 2010.

Top Five Songs From 2010

1. "Crazy Love" by Robbie Seay Band - I LOVE this song! It's one of those songs that I put on repeat and listen to five times in a row. I believe Robbie Seay wrote this one as a love song for his wife, but for me it is a love song for my Savior. RSB's entire Miracle album is amazing!

2. "Something to Say" by Starfield - As awesome as this song is, it was hard to pick only one favorite song from Starfield's The Saving One album. You should check it out. It's awesome!

3. "You Are More" by Tenth Avenue North - Great lyrics, great sound, and my favorite music video of the year.

4. "Heaven Song" by Phil Wickham - I heard Phil sing this last month when he was on tour with Mercy Me and I was blown away. It captures my longing for Heaven so well. Absolutely beautiful.

5. "Snow" by Sleeping at Last - I have been very much enjoying SAL's Yearbook project that they began in October this year, consisting of a three song EP released every month for a year. Their music is a bit different for me as I usually prefer more commercial music, but they've managed to captivate me with their sound. I couldn't pick a favorite, so I chose their newest release "Snow".

So there you have it! What are your favorite songs of 2010?

Merry Christmas to you and many blessings in the new year!


Friday, December 3, 2010

The Story Behind the Song: I Need a Rescue

Hello Friends!

The release of a new album is one of the most exciting times in a band. There are a lot of mundane moments, but times like this one make it all worth it. It's been about three weeks since Where I'm Found released, and things are starting to get pretty exciting! Today though, I will continue the Story Behind The Song Series with my viewpoint on the song "I Need a Rescue".

It is nearly impossible to pick a favorite song from Where I'm Found because each song has a special meaning for me in some way or another. With that being said, I do connect with "I Need a Rescue" in a different way than all the others. That is because I was the one on that lonely island begging God for a rescue. But that isn't how it all began.

Back in the spring of '06, I became a big fan of a great new band called NEEDTOBREATHE. Maybe you've heard of them ;-) . They had just released their debut album, Daylight (which I still think is their best) and I was totally addicted to it. So one beautiful, sunny day I grabbed my guitar and headed for the Florida room--which was my favorite songwriting spot at the time--to write a song that sounded like NEEDTOBREATHE. I have a tendency to write sad, mellow music and I wanted to write something different. Something energetic and exciting. So I started playing. At first, I thought I was doing well. I was going to write a happy, up-tempo song just like I wanted to! I had the chord progression for the chorus written and I liked it. Then I started writing the verses, which took on a sadder sound. That wasn't what I was shooting for, but I liked it anyway. Finally, I wrote the music for a bridge. When I played the music for Sam, my sister and frequent co-writer, we both thought something just wasn't working. Finally I scrapped my happy chorus and turned the bridge into the chorus. My upbeat, energetic song was gone. But now emerged a much more honest one. The one word that Sam and I both kept thinking of as we listened to the music was "rescue".

Sam is the one to take most of the credit for the lyrics of "I Need a Rescue". I don't know how she does it, but on multiple occasions I have written music and told Sam what I thought the song should be about and then she took that and put it into words. But "I Need a Rescue" was not exactly an easy song to write. The lyrics for the first verse were somewhat of a challenge, the chorus was fairly easy, and the second verse was really hard! But the most difficult part of the song to write was this, "Oh God, tear open these clouds and rescue me". It took us years to write that. Seriously.

We kept writing bridges that were too long and wordy. And honestly, we really didn't know what to say. The song was already a confession, but then what? How do we get off the island? Is God going to come and rescue me? Where is God in all of this anyway? This time, we weren't just stuck on a lyric. For me, this was personal. I have a strange salvation story, and perhaps sometime I will tell it here. But the gist of it is, I thought I was saved at the age of five, though I didn't really trust Jesus at all until I was fourteen. Ironically, during those nine years that I thought I was saved, I never once doubted my salvation. But five years after I truly was saved, I was assaulted by fierce doubts that felt like they would destroy me. I had no idea how much of a wretch I could be after God had saved me. I thought that maybe I was mistaken. Maybe He hadn't really saved me in the first place. Maybe I've been on this deserted island my whole life and didn't know it. And I didn't know if God was going to rescue me. I had no idea what to say in the song. One day I read this half of a verse from Isaiah, "If only You would tear the heavens open and come down..." Isaiah 64:1. That said everything right there. Unfortunately, it still took us at least another year before we figured out a way to say the same thing in words that fit "I Need a Rescue". And then, even when we had written it, we still weren't sure if we liked it. This song was put on the shelf many times before we finally decided it was exactly the way we wanted it. In the end, it took four years until we were satisfied.

The end of my story happens after "I Need a Rescue" is over. God did eventually come and rescue me. But it wasn't a dramatic scene where all my troubles ended suddenly. It was gradual. I almost don't even know how it happened because it happened so slowly. One by one, my doubts were replaced, not by answers, but by faith. It felt like starting over. I had all these ideas about God. I thought I understood Him. What I found is that our human minds cannot understand God. But He can be trusted.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

The Story Behind the Song: Least of These

Hello Friends,

It's been about three weeks since we released "Least of These" on our website and we've given away about 6,000 downloads already! We are so excited and honored that this song is reaching so many people! This morning, I thought I'd sit down and give you the story behind the song.

Several years ago, I learned about a man named Joseph Kony who is responsible for Africa's longest running conflict, terrorizing 5 countries. The soldiers in Joseph Kony's rebel army (the Lord's Resistance Army) are children who are abducted from their homes and forced to fight. These children witness and endure unspeakable horrors. Sadly, most of the world is unaware of this tragedy.

In December 2008, I read an update from the organization Invisible Children (http://www.invisiblechildren.com/) that said on Christmas Eve, the Lord's Resistance Army had murdered more than 600 people and abducted at least 160 children to fight amongst its ranks. I was shocked by the savagery of Joseph Kony. And then I was grieved by the ignorance and apathy of the rest of the world. If it had been 600 Americans brutally murdered, it would have made headlines nationwide. If it had been 160 American kids who were snatched from their families and forced to kill, the world would be in an outrage. Now, as an American, I understand that American media is primarily concerned with American news. We can't report on everything that happens in the world. But as a Christian, my heart is broken by the suffering of any human, American or not. It frustrates me that because it is "only Africans" suffering, so many turn a blind eye. "Things are different in Africa" they say. But I don't think we're all that different, really. We all bleed the same color, after all. And more importantly, we all have the same Maker. And He cares for the least of these.

And so the song Least of These was born. This song is my challenge to you to remember the forgotten, the weak and the oppressed. Who is it you are tempted to ignore? Is it the homeless men at the city park? The unwanted babies who are killed before they can be born? The African woman grieving the loss of her kidnapped child? The Christian pastor alone in a prison for sharing the Good News? Don't turn away. Don't ignore them. Because they are Jesus undercover.

"Then He will say also to those on the left, 'Depart from Me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the Devil and his angels! For I was hungry and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger and you didn't take Me in; I was naked and you didn't clothe Me, sick and in prison and you didn't take care of Me.' Then they too will answer, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or without clothes, or sick, or in prison, and not help You?' Then He will answer them, "I assure you: Whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for Me either.'" Matthew 25: 41-45

Download "Least of These"

(Right click on the link and choose "Save Target As...")

Least of These
On the far side of Earth
A child lives in fear
Held captive by a man
Who swears that God can't hear

Or so he says...

We all bleed the same color
We all shed the same tears
We all have the same Maker
And He cares for the least of these

They say his skin is dark
So that makes him unlike us
He was built for hard work
To be owned and ruled by us

Or so we said...

We all bleed the same color
We all shed the same tears
We all have the same Maker
And He cares for the least of these (2x)

Oh, let us care for the least of these

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Hello Friends!

We hope this Labor Day weekend finds you well and enjoying some extra time off work! We are very busy this weekend, but it's exciting work so we don't mind it a bit! The entire month of September is shaping up to be chock full of busyness for us, so we'll get right to it and attempt to keep the exclamation points to a minimum!

First off, we've released a brand new song titled "Least of These" from our new record and you can listen to it and download it for FREE right now at www.truthbomb.net! In less than 3 days since its release, we've already given away over 1800 downloads! We'd definitely like for you to download it while you've got the chance. It will only be available for free until later this month when the new album comes out. When we released "Least of These" on Friday night, we hadn't planned to release it to radio because there are other songs on the new album that we thought would be better suited for radio. But it's looking like God has other plans! "Least of These" has already been added in heavy rotation on Voice of Truth Radio (San Antonio, Texas) and has also just been picked up by LIGHT FM (Milton Keynes, United Kingdom)! We have several other radio stations around the world are interested in adding it as well! We are honored that God would take this song so far!

Secondly, our aforementioned upcoming album, Where I'm Found, is coming along splendidly and we can't wait to release it! Everything should be finished in a few weeks and then it will be hitting iTunes, Amazon MP3, Rhapsody, eMusic etc. at the end of the month! This is our first full-length album (9 songs) and by far our most diverse project to date. We are exceptionally thrilled about Where I'm Found because we feel like this album really captures who we are as a band.

Third, between September 10th and October 20th, our frontman Andrew will be cycling 1,000 miles to help raise awareness and funds for Blood:Water Mission to help them reach their goal of building 1,000 wells in Africa! In 2005, Blood:Water Mission launched the 1000 Wells Project, a nation-wide effort to raise enough money to provide clean water and sanitation for 1,000 communities in sub-Saharan Africa. Since that time, 859 water projects have been completed, serving a total of 570,000 people in 11 countries. Please consider sponsoring Andrew as he cycles 1,000 Miles for 1,000 Wells! You can contact Andrew about sponsoring him or making a donation to Blood:Water Mission by sending him an email at Andrew@truthbomb.net. Also, look for 1,000 Miles for 1,000 Wells on Facebook!

Thanks for reading! Blessings to you,
Christin, Andrew and Kaitie
~Truth Bomb

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Some Thoughts on Following Christ

Hey Friends,

I'm sitting here at the computer this morning listening to rough mixes of "Where I'm Found" and "Dreams" from our new album. I think this album is what a broken heart sounds like. But it's a broken heart with the hope of becoming whole. It's the sound of a seed dying alone in the ground. But the harvest is coming.

"My life is spent in crooked ways. And hours spent mean wasted days. One day down, how many more? Till I see what You call Home." -Where I'm Found

"What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?" -Apostle Paul

We are aching for God's presence, to see Him face to face. We can't wait until He rescues us from these bodies of death. We're tired of being used as tools of destruction for the Devil. We want to bring glory to our Father in Heaven.

One thing I've been learning lately, is that you can't serve two masters. You can't live for your own dreams and call yourself a follower of Christ. You can't spend your life building your own kingdom and then pray for the Kingdom of God to come. You will either love Christ and His ways or you will love yourself and your ways. You can't go left and right at the same time.

"Therefore, fear the Lord and worship Him in sincerity and truth. Get rid of the gods your ancestors worshiped beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt, and worship the Lord. But if it doesn't please you to worship the Lord, choose for yourselves today the one you will worship.... As for me and my family, we will serve the Lord." -Joshua


Sometimes it seems I've lost all my dreams
To the bottom of the ocean
I let them go out on a breeze
You carried them far away from me

Is this where You want me?
Is this how it should be?
Can I follow You and still live out a dream?

The plans that I made up years ago
Took flight and left me here all alone
And in their place You've given me wings
To fly after You wherever You go

Is this where You want me?
Is this how it should be?
Can I follow You and still live out a dream?

Your Kingdom come, Your will be done
On earth as in Heaven
Your Kingdom come, Your will done

This is where You've brought me
This is how it should be
To follow You has become my only dream
To follow You has become my only dream

"I assure you: Unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains by itself. But if it dies, it produces a large crop. The one who loves his life will lose it, and the one who hates his life in this world will keep it for life eternal." -Jesus

I think the only thing left to say is:

Our Father in heaven,
Your name be honored as holy.
Your kingdom come.
Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And do not bring us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.

Blessings to you,

Scripture references: Romans 7:24, Joshua 24:15, John 12:24-25, Matthew 6:9-13

Monday, February 22, 2010

Gravity is the Difference

Hey Friends!
How have you been? I can't believe I haven't blogged yet this year! Or rather, this decade! How did it get to be 2010 so quickly?
This past year has been interesting for us (Truth Bomb). I can't even quite put my finger on the difference between this past year and the previous years, but something has definitely changed. I think it's for the better.
Maybe it's just that we're getting older. We're no longer a kid band anymore. Except for Kaitie, she's still only sixteen. But she has always been mature. Even still, there's a big difference between the eleven year old she was when we started and the sixteen year old she now is. She no longer complains that band practice is taking too long and she wants to go outside and play :).
But I think it's more than just the fact that we have checked off a few more years from our lifespans. There is a weight to what we do. A weight that I don't think we felt when we started. We feel the gravity of what it is God has called us to. Or maybe it's just the weight of knowing God has called us. Period.
There were shows that we played last year in which we did not know if we would all survive. We did not know if the concert was going to end suddenly with one of us collapsing and being rushed to the hospital, rather than closing out on our rendition of "How Great is Our God" as we'd planned. There were shows that we did not know if our van would carry us safely to the venue. Would the front end fall off and cause an accident? Would the van overheat and burn up? Would we just break down in the middle of nowhere? But we had to go. We had to play. We had to sing. God had given us no out. This is what He called us to do. And do it, we will. We have no choice.
It's amazing how much more a song means to you when you think it might be your last. It might be the last time you play that song for an audience. It might be the last time you play that song ever. It might be the last song you ever play. These thoughts attach a great weight to a song. To a show. To a calling.
Gravity is the difference. Being in a band is no longer about lofty dreams of fame and fortune. No longer about the glamor of tour buses, sold-out shows, and #1 singles. The gravity keeps our knees on the ground.