the embrace
day 02

“So God created man in his own image; in the image of God He created him.”  ~ Genesis 1:27a
“It’s the return of how You made me.”  ~ The Embrace

Fellowship with God, constant focus on Christ, life in the Spirit; these are the things we were created for!  We were built to “love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mk. 12:30 ESV); not just some of your heart, but  all of it!  Not  just a few thoughts in your  
mind, but all of them!  It  sounds extreme, but it isn’t some lofty ideal that we should hope to live up to someday; it’s what Christ has commanded us to do, right here and now.

With so many things in this world competing for our attention,  we must realize that  we don’t  make a choice between daily life and God; we must choose to let daily life flow from God.  If we maintain our focus on Him and “seek first His kingdom” (Matt. 6:33), He will provide the time, resources, and opportunities that He wants us to take part in.  Only in Him can we live the life He created for us to live.

*What adjustments need to be made in my life to ensure that God  is the number-one priority in my heart, soul, mind, and strength? 
*Is my devotion to the Lord simply a small part of my life, or is it truly encompassing everything I say and do?

Many blessings, everyone.
I get excited about creating.  The idea of making something out of nothing excites me.  

I think the main reason I enjoy creating is because of the sense of unpredictability that comes with it.  A lyric line might lead to a melody changing form or rhythm.  A guitar part might inspire an extra set (or two, or six) of measures.  A vocal verse that was ad-libbed at the last minute might say twenty times more than the verse that I spent days on.  

There's an infinite amount of creativity (and unpredictability) on this earth.  I love how no two snowflakes have the same pattern, how all these different climates can somehow sustain life, how a sunset can stir the soul as much as a song can.  

Why, then, are we trying to look like everyone else, sound like everyone else, act like everyone else, and just be like everyone else?

We are to find satisfaction in who we are in Christ, not who we are compared to some celebrity or supermodel.  

We are to find satisfaction in who God has created us to be, and stop trying to imitate another person's work or lifestyle.

So, instead of attempting to churn out another piece of contemporary Christian material that fits the image of that genre (before it changes, of course), instead of trying to get my body to be shaped a certain way or to look like I've got my act together, I simply want to rejoice in the fact that I am God's creation, and the gift of creating is something that He's passed down to me.  

I'm so thankful for the creative outlet that He's given me to express how my soul responds to Him.  Whether it blesses tens or millions isn't my concern.  I just want to confidently offer myself back to Jesus with all I've got.

So, next time you're creating, whatever it may be, remember 
For those of you who are wondering about the next worship project, THE RISING [Songs of Redemption], here's a few little tidbits of information:

- There's quite a few items on my plate right now, but I'll be making every effort to release THE RISING during the year 2011.  I don't doubt that it can happen, but it's ultimately up to our God as to how the timeline unfolds.  As of right now, though, the aim is definitely for a 2011 release.

- Lyrically, I want THE RISING to be penetrating and blunt.  I think we should be held accountable by the lyrics of the songs we sing to the Lord, and I want to enter my foot into that circle.

- The content of the lyrics is, of course, about redemption.  It'll explore biblical answers for what redemption really means for our DNA, our daily lives, and our eternal allegiance.  (Let's just say that there'll be a lot of rejoicing on this album.)

- Musically, don't expect THE RISING to sound a lot like THE EMBRACE.  This isn't because I'm intentionally trying to be different.  It's because different seasons of creativity bring different outcomes, and I'm excited to see what happens.  (Hint: I'm feeling a lot more creative on electric guitar than on acoustic guitar lately.  We'll see where that leads!)

- Finally, the costs of recording, producing, mastering, manufacturing, and distributing music aren't cheap.  If you've been blessed by my music or this blog, I invite you to make a donation to the ministry.  

slavespiritministries exists to further the love and truth of Jesus by all means possible.  It does not exist so that we can make a few dollars, sit around until the money's gone, post more Internet content until a few more dollars show up, and repeat.  We're in it for Jesus.  Please give if you're called to give.  (You even get a personal thank-you from me in your email inbox.  How much fun is that?)  

Also, If you're led to donate to the costs of bringing THE RISING to life, simply put "rising" in the Add Special Instructions field on the final donation page.  As a bonus, if you donate $25 or more, you'll automatically receive one of the first copies of THE RISING when it releases.  

You can click on the link below to donate.  No minimum amount is necessary.  Giving is an act of worship: give as you're led to give, and thanks for doing so.  (You do not need a Paypal account to donate.  Simply look on the lower left part of the page that says "Use your credit card or bank account".)

Copy and paste this link to donate:

THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU all for your support through prayer and giving.  It's an honor to walk alongside you in this life in Christ.  Be blessed!
As Kait & I were doing our quiet time this morning, it hit me: we have no clue what's going to happen in the near future.  ...And we're okay with that!

I realized that we don't have a career arc to aspire to.  We don't have plans as to how we think this life is going to look.  We don't know where, when, how, why, or what's in store for the next month, even.  

But "the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 4:7).  We can't explain why we're peaceful in any other way than this: His peace is guarding us.  What an awesome thing to cling to!

I'm not saying that there isn't ever a time when planning for the future isn't legit.  I think it just boils down to if we're doing the planning, or if we're letting Him do the planning.  If your heart is being led by Him to a certain place, cause, or opportunity, don't doubt it.  But don't try to force something through on your own terms either.  Release it to the Lord and let Him deal with it (and with you) accordingly (see Prov. 15:22, Prov. 19:21).

To think that God isn't going to use us in the exact ways that He sees fit (if we allow Him to do what He wants with us, that is) is lack of faith.  We're not putting our hope in a house, a job, or any sense of accomplishment.  We're putting our hope in Jesus.  The only Hope that never

There's plenty more to say on this, which I'll probably explore more of in future posts, but this is where I'm stopping for now.  

Many blessings and much of our God's love to you in the New Year!