Awesome FREE Christian Music Events in Indiana!

If you are here on Spin: the Blog, I can only imagine that you probably like Christian music. (What a coincidence!  So do I!)

You may or may not live in the great state of Indiana, so if you don’t happen to be a Hoosier, then I feel for you in more ways than one; particularly because you are going to miss out on some awesome FREE Christian music events coming up in August!

Here are the details:

WORLD PULSE MUSIC FESTIVAL

The City Harmonic II

The City Harmonic!!!

WORLD PULSE MUSIC FESTIVAL–Seriously, this music festival has THE BEST line-up of any free Christian music festival I’ve ever heard of, and I’ve pretty much heard it all at this point. Coming to South Bend on Saturday, August 10th, 2013 the line-up includes, check this out: Tricia Brock (formerly of Superchick! Rock What You’ve Got! I Love her!!), Jason Castro (Uh, hello? Who doesn’t like Jason Castro? I think it would be impossible NOT to like Jason Castro!), the City Harmonic (I LOVE this band to the moon and back. Seriously, you have not lived until you’ve seen the City Harmonic in concert. Trust me on this!), Natalie Grant (No, I’m not kidding. I said ‘Natalie Grant’ and ‘Free’ in the same paragraph!!), Audio Adrenaline (Again, I am not joking. I paid $50 two months ago to see Audio Adrenaline and I thought it was a deal!), and…wait for it…SWITCHFOOT! Switchfoot! Can you believe that?

Jason Castro

Jason Castro

Like I said, this is THE line-up of free line-ups and it is coming to South Bend on Saturday, August 10th, 2013!

Tricia Brock

Tricia Brock

PLEASE NOTE you do HAVE TO HAVE a ticket to get in, but like I said, the tickets are free and still available over at iTickets.com. (For more information and/or additional places to pick up tickets, visit the festival’s website at http://www.worldpulsefestival.com). Of course, you will have to pay for parking ($25) and food (a complete list of what’s available and the prices are on the festival’s website).

I would happily pay these prices for parking and food any day that I get to see the City Harmonic play a live show, but when you throw in Tricia Brock, Jason Castro, Natalie Grant, Audio Adrenaline, and SWITCHFOOT to the mix…well, you know I’m gonna be there, and you should definitely be there too! In my opinion, this is going to be THE Christian Music event of the summer in Indiana so go grab some free tickets now while there are still some left!

CHRISTIAN MUSIC DAY AT THE INDIANA STATE FAIR

I swear I know nothing about these guys.  My son, however, is an expert on them!

I swear I know nothing about these guys. My son, however, is an expert on them!

CHRISTIAN MUSIC DAY at the INDIANA STATE FAIR–Again, another free event (although you do have to pay admission to the State Fair venue. Discount admission tickets are available at all Indiana Wal-Mart stores, CVS Pharmacies, and Indiana Farm Bureau Offices for $7. Kids under 5 are free! Gate admission is only $10.) The line-up for this festival taking place on Sunday, August 11th, 2013 from 2-9 pm is Brianna Caprice (I don’t have a clue who this is, but I intend to find out!), Jason Castro (he’s a busy guy this weekend!), Love & The Outcome (I’ve seen this duo and they are AMAZING!), some band called for King & Country (don’t know why anyone, particularly my 6 year old son Alex, would want to go see these guys. HA! 🙂 and Matthew West.

Matthew West’s kind of a slacker, but the rest of the line-up is decent. 

(Of course, I’m just kidding!  Matthew West is one of if not THE BEST entertainers in all of Christian Music.  You have to go see him if you haven’t yet!)

If those names aren’t enough to get you down to the State Fair on Sunday, August 11th, then I don’t know what will. (The World’s Largest Popcorn Ball? A 4,500 square foot barn made out of glass? An outdoor ice skating rink in Indiana in August? Just a few suggestions!)

Love and the Outcome

Love and the Outcome

The website for the Indiana State Fair is http://www.in.gov/statefair

I’ll be at both of these festivals the weekend of August 10th and I hope to see you there! Should be a rockin’ time 🙂  Let’s just hope the weather is not too sweltering hot…if I have another weekend where the temps get up like they did at LifeFest when my nail polish literally melted off of my nails, I don’t know if I’ll live to tell the tale!

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Jason Castro News!

JASON CASTRO TO MAKE TV ACTING DEBUT IN THE UP ORIGINAL MOVIE, “THE PERFECT SUMMER,”
 SCHEDULED TO AIR ON JULY 13 AND 14

Soundtrack to Feature Several Songs by the Singer/Songwriter

Castro to Depart on “I am Second” Expedition to Colombia, South America, on July 12

FROM PRESS RELEASE:

Nashville, TN – (July 10, 2013) – Internationally-renowned singer-songwriter Jason Castro will make his TV acting debut when he appears in the UP original movie, “The Perfect Summer,” scheduled to air on the network on Saturday, July 13 and Sunday, July 14 at 7, 9 and 11 p.m. EDT. In the inspirational sun-and-surf family drama, which stars Academy, Emmy and Golden Globe nominee Eric Roberts (“The Dark Knight,” “The Expendables”) and Daytime Emmy nominee Sydney Penny (“All My Children,” “The New Gidget”), he takes on the role of Cody, the local surf shop owner. Several of his songs will also be featured on “The Perfect Summer” soundtrack. On July 11, Castro, who recently wrapped up a co-headlining tour with Ryan Cabrera, is scheduled to embark on a week-long expedition with “I am Second” to Colombia, South America. This fall he can be seen on Matthew West’s “Into the Light Tour” which will also feature label mates Sidewalk Prophets. Castro’s current single, “Rise To You,” and second from his recently released Word debut album, continues to scale the charts.

“The Perfect Summer,” directed by Gary Wheeler (“Somebody’s Child,” “The Heart of Christmas”) and written by Nathan Scoggins and Wheeler, was filmed over a two-week period this spring in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. In addition, the concept for the script was based around Castro after Wheeler and Word Records selected him as the perfect artist to joint venture a film around. “Making ‘The Perfect Summer’ was such an incredible experience that I cannot wait to share with the world,” said Castro. “The cast and crew were amazing to work with. Also, I am delighted that several songs from my new CD are used in the film. I hope everyone enjoys it!”

In the film fatherless teenager Jake (Adam Horner) is uprooted from Chicago by his mother who decides to move them to a small surfing town where her estranged father lives. Now stuck in a small town with no friends, he has nowhere to turn until Cody (Castro) reveals that Jake’s grandfather is a surf legend. Tired of feeling like an outcast and wanting to impress Katie, he asks his grandfather to teach him how to surf. Jake learns to face his fears and push through his inhibitions and realizes that winning the respect of his new peers means facing the biggest challenge of his life.

July 11 – 20 will see Castro in Colombia, South America, for an “I am Second” expedition. The movement is meant to inspire people of all kinds to live for God and for others and discover their purpose in life. “Jason has a long-standing relationship with the ‘I am Second’ movement and a short film about his personal story can be found at iamsecond.com,” commented John Humphrey, Director of Communications for “I am Second.” “This week he and his father are helping host an ‘I am Second’ Youth conference for nearly 2,000 students, telling Colombians about Jesus during the day and participating in ‘I am Second’ small groups in the evening. The expedition is organized e3 Partners, the parent ministry for ‘I am Second,’ which has worked with churches in Colombian outreach for nearly 20 years.”

Immediately following the trip, Castro will join up with Matthew West for his “Into the Light Tour” which departs on September 26 in Carlsbad, New Mexico. For further information and a complete list of tour dates visit http://www.jasoncastro.com.

About Jason Castro:
Internationally-renowned recording artist and “American Idol” contestant Jason Castro has topped radio charts in multiple countries, including: Norway, Singapore and The Philippines. His self-titled debut album entered the Billboard Top 200 Album chart at No. 18. Throughout his career, Jason has appeared on television shows such as “TODAY,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “Access Hollywood” and “The Bachelor” and has appeared on the pages of Rolling Stone, USA Today and The New York Times. Castro just released his Word Entertainment debut album, Only A Mountain, January 15, 2013.

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/jasoncastro
Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/jasoncastro
YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/jasoncastroonline

Phil Joel Launches deliberateKids Kickstarter Campaign

These days, you just can’t escape the constant barrage of worldly messages that come at us from all sides during most of our waking hours.  From the TV to the internet to the newspaper, billions of dollars are spent every year crafting eye popping, shock and awe advertisements meant to draw our attention and pique our interest in buying some product we probably don’t even need anyway.  Even grocery carts and the sides of city buses compete for our attention, projecting provocative images and offensive content.

As a parent, how do you prepare your child to filter out the junk of this world that seems to be almost everywhere?  What can be done to guard the young hearts and protect the minds that have been entrusted to us from all the ugliness in the world?

Phil Joel, a former 14 year member of the Christian rock group the Newsboys and the founder of the deliberatePeople movement, has a simple but innovative idea to combat these very things.

DeliberateKids is a children’s music project that Joel, together with his wife Heather, originally created after becoming parents to their two children.  “There’s a lot of kids music out there,” said Joel with his trademark New Zealand accent, “but much of it is very, very old.  I wanted to create something rockin’, catchy, and super fun that would pour God’s truth into the hearts of kids everywhere.”

The original deliberateKids 1 & 2 were recorded and distributed thru a deal with a record label, and that deal officially came to end recently, said Joel in an interview at the WFRN Friend Fest on Saturday, June 22nd, 2013.  Now that the rights have been returned to the Joel family from the label, they are anxious to relaunch deliberateKids and “get this music back into the minivans and living rooms all over the country,” Joel said with a smile.

While Joel is passionate about getting the music back out to families, obtaining the financial backing for a grassroots project such as this one has proved rather challenging.  “A lot of people don’t realize that to do things the right way, it can get rather expensive to license your songs, pay out royalties, manufacture the CDs and so on,” said Joel,  “but it is important to us that we do this the right way.”

This is why the Joels have launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise the $15,000 needed to manufacture the project.  Currently, the campaign is a little over 50% funded with 3 weeks remaining in the campaign.  Project backers can donate as little as $1 or more than $3,500 with incentives ranging from a 5 song digital download sampler of the CD to a visit from Phil Joel to your church on Sunday morning.

“Every day, we receive calls or e-mails from people who want to know where to buy deliberateKids,” said Joel.  “It’s rather frustrating to tell them they can’t buy it because it’s nowhere to be found at the moment.  This Kickstarter campaign can change that.”

Notable fans (and parents)  of deliberateKids include tobyMac, Jeremy and Adie Camp, Matthew and Emily West, Peter Furler, Jon and Sherry Rivers, Patsy Clairmont, and comedian Bob Smiley.  Of the deliberateKids CDs, Matthew West has said “Our children love the deliberateKids music! God has uniquely gifted Phil and Heather with the ability to write songs that are fun, entertaining, and filled with the hope and the joy that we find in God’s promises. We tell all of our friends about dKids because we know parents need to be armed with tools like this as a way of filling our children’s hearts with the positive message of the hope we have in Christ!”

Ultimately, Joel hopes to expand the deliberateKids family to include daily devotionals for middle schoolers, family tool books, VBS materials, Sunday School curriculum, music videos, and perhaps even a deliberateKids 3.

For more information about this project, visit www.PhilJoel.com or click here to visit the deliberateKids Kickstarter page.

 

 

 

In addition to his work with deliberateKids and deliberatePeople, Phil Joel is also a solo artist and his projects are available for purchase on iTunes and Amazon. 

2013 Grammy Winners!

February 10th, 2013 was a big night at the Grammy’s for Christian Music!  Here’s a quick run down of the winners:

Best Gospel/Contemporary Christian Music Performance–Matt Redman. Such a well-deserved win! I also love Matt Redman’s response to his win on Twitter. He said, “We wrote this song for the glory of God, so He gets all the glory today, too.” Beautiful!

The category for Best Contemporary Christian Music Song of the year was a tough one. So many great songs to choose from in this category! Nominees included 10,000 Reasons by Matt Redman and Jonas Myrin, Jesus, Friend of Sinners by Mark Hall and Matthew West, Your Presence is Heaven by Israel Houghton and Michah Massey, When Mercy Found Me by Jeff Pardo and Rhett Walker, and White Flag by Jason Ingram, Matt Maher, Matt Redman, and Chris Tomlin. (Side note: I wonder how Matt Redman must have felt to be competing against himself for this category? That’s awesome!) I have to admit, I was kind of pulling for my home boy Rhett Walker’s When Mercy Found Me, but the award was given jointly to 10,000 Reasons and Your Presence is Heaven. Both are truly great songs, and very well deserved wins for the songwriters. If you aren’t familiar with Your Presence is Heaven (To Me), check out the lyric video below on YouTube:

The winner for Best Gospel Album this year was Gravity by Lecrae. If I’m being very candid, of all the well deserved awards given out last night this one is probably tops. I’m not typically a big fan of rap music, but for a solid couple of months last summer I was completely hooked on Gravity. Couldn’t get enough of it! Lecrae is an amazing man of God, and you can check out his inspiring testimony below:

Another tough category at the Grammy’s was the Best Contemporary Christian Album. Nominated for the award was Eye On It by tobyMac, Come to the Well by the Casting Crowns, Where I Find You by Kari Jobe, Gold by Britt Nicole, and Into the Light by Matthew West. All of the nominees in this category had stellar projects and stellar years last year, but my one of my own favorites, tobyMac, walked away the big winner. Congratulations to Mr. Mac on the win and to the nominees! (As Matthew West said on Twitter, “I’m getting pretty good at saying ‘It’s just an honor to be nominated.’ Ha! Congrats to @therealtobymac on a well-deserved Grammy!”) You can check out tobyMac’s video for Eye On It featuring fellow nominee Britt Nicole below:

Winter Jam Pick #3–Matthew West’s Do Something

When we are talking about Matthew West and favorite song choices, the potential is there for an incredibly long discussion (or blog post!)  Personally, I’m not sure Matthew West could write and sing a bad song if he tried.  He’s that good of a singer/songwriter, and all I really need to prove that statement is his latest CD, Into the Light, which is chock-full of God-infused, heart moving tunes.

My friend Sarah and I saw Matthew West when he was out on his Into the Light tour last November with Mikeschair  and Lindsay McCaul, and we were both blown away with how great of a performer he is.  So, as for what songs he chooses to sing at Winter Jam, it will probably be along the same lines as Royal Tailor–even the Alphabet Song would totally rock.

Personally, one of my favorites from his new album is the song Do Something, so if he sneaks that one into the playlist, I’ll be good.  The opening lyrics to this song are some of my favorite lyrics ever, and so I will share them with you now:

I woke up this morning 
Saw a world full of trouble now 
Thought, how’d we ever get so far down 
How’s it ever gonna turn around 
So I turned my eyes to Heaven 
I thought, “God, why don’t You do something?”
Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of 
People living in poverty 
Children sold into slavery 
The thought disgusted me 
So, I shook my fist at Heaven 
Said, “God, why don’t You do something?” 
He said, “I did, I created you” 

So, if you see me going totally crazy at Winter Jam in Fort Wayne going nuts over the song Do Somthing, you’ll know why.  (And you can join me!)

I Officially Declare Next Sunday…Winter Jam!

Winter Jam

So if you live in the currently cold and dreary Fort Wayne, Indiana or surrounding area, I bet I know what you are thinking about today 🙂

Winter Jam is less than 1 week away!!

Personally, I think Winter Jam day in Fort Wayne should be declared an official holiday (as well as the day after Winter Jam, because really, who wants to go to work after having that much fun the night before?  It could be dangerous to a person’s health…well, it could!)

I know out of the 365 days in a calendar year, the days I look forward to the most are as follows:

  1. Christmas
  2. Easter
  3. Winter Jam

As you might imagine, I’m starting to get pretty excited right about now.  Also making me super-duper excited this year for Winter Jam is the sweet line-up, which includes not just one of my favorites, not two, not even three, but four of my very favorite performers from 2013.  (For those of you wondering, I’m talking about the Sidewalk Prophets, Mr. TobyMac, Matthew West, and Royal Tailor.)

Since I’ll probably be twiddling most of my week away daydreaming about the upcoming Winter Jam, I have decided that I might as well do something productive with my time and write a countdown this week of the songs/performances I am most looking forward to next Sunday at Winter Jam at the Allen County War Memorial Coliseum.

Which song/performers will come out on top as my #1 pick?  Will it be Matthew West?  The Sidewalk Prophets?  Or perhaps the master showman himself, Mr. TobyMac?

Yeah, I’m not telling.  You’ll have to wait until next week to find out.

In the meantime, however, you’ll be able to enjoy some fun snippets from me about my favorite songs.  I’ll also share the tunes on Spotify and the official videos via YouTube.  You can also take a minute and vote for your favorite song/performers at Winter Jam !

Enjoy…and if you’re in Fort Wayne, I’ll see you next Sunday!

Beth

27 Days of Christmas Music, Day 5: Mandisa’s Christmas Makes Me Cry

Mandisa

Matthew West – Christmas Makes Me Cry – feat. Mandisa

I’m going to be completely frank for the next few minutes.

For a lot of people out there, Christmas sucks.

Harsh as this may sound, you know as well as I do that it’s true.  We live in a completely broken, torn apart world.  Even while Psalm 47:8 plainly tells us, “God reigns over the nations; God is seated on his holy throne,” I’d be lying if I didn’t freely admit that most of the time it seems like the only thing reigning in this messed up world is our own brokenness.

You better believe Mandisa and Matthew West aren’t the only ones Christmas has the potential to make cry.

I’d be surprised if anyone, anywhere didn’t at one time or another feel pretty darn miserable at Christmas.

I know I hurt when I think about how much I miss my grandmothers at Christmas time.

My heart breaks when I think about the Christmas memories I didn’t get a chance to make with my little girl.

I turn into a floodgate of emotions when faced with Hallmark Commercials, photos of golden retriever puppies wearing Christmas bows, sappy romantic holiday movies and stories revealing the true meaning of Christmas this time of year.

Niagara Falls has nothing on me in these instances, that much is certain.

Tonight as I ponder the true meaning of all my Christmas tears, an unexpected thought pops into my mind.

No one has ever written a song called “Easter Makes Me Cry.”

For a brief moment, I wonder why this is the case?  I mean, all the holiday stuff that makes people cry at Christmas is still pretty applicable at Easter.  Come to think of it, the story of Easter comes right on the heels of Jesus spending three days being tortured, dying a horrific death, and taking a trip to hell for sins He never committed.

Shouldn’t we not just be crying at Easter over the atrocities committed against our Savior, but tearing out our hair and gnashing our teeth as well?

I mean, seriously, if we are crying at Christmas time over the sweet story about the birth of a little baby boy lying in manger, shouldn’t Easter be filled with a little more angst?

Of course not.

(Had you going there for a minute, though, didn’t I?!)

So why all the tears at Christmas and not Easter?

Perhaps my favorite line of lyrics in Christmas Makes Me Cry explains why our emotions are closer to the surface at Christmas time than any other time of the year:

I think of Mary and the virgin birth
And I’m amazed by how much God thinks we are worth
That He would send His only Son to die
And sometimes Christmas makes me cry

As I picture my precious Savior lying in that lowly manger, the joy I feel as I celebrate His birth is coupled with the full knowledge of what Christmas would one day cost Him.

Because of me.  (You, too!)

…I’m amazed by how much God thinks we are worth

That He would send His only Son to die

While I’ve shed many tears at Christmas time, I can’t stop my heart from rejoicing with the knowledge that our Savior’s story didn’t end at Christmas.

It didn’t end when He died, arms outstretched, for you and for me, on the cross at Calgary either.

The promise that was made to us on that Christmas night so long ago was fulfilled in its entirety on that blessed Easter morn when the angel triumphantly announced, “He is not here; for he has risen as he said he would.” (Matthew 28:6)

Because of Easter, because my Lord is risen indeed, I believe with unsurpassing confidence that one day the tears I’ve shed in the past will matter no more, and all the pain and brokenness and death of this world will pass away.

All that will remain is the joy I feel knowing that the price my Savior paid for me has set me free from all of my tears, all of my sadness, and all of my pain forevermore.

No one cries at Easter because Jesus is alive!  Hallelujah!  (And a very merry Christmas, too!)

He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.

Revelation 21:4

http://www.wfrnfriendfest.com/

The complete line up for the WFRN Friend Fest was announced this morning and it’s spectacular!  I didn’t think WFRN could top last year, and I for sure didn’t think the line-up could possibly get much better after hearing the line-up of stellar headliners planned.  I love it when I’m wrong!  Here’s a complete breakdown of who’s coming…I think you’ll see many of my favorites on this list!

  1. TobyMac
  2. Matthew West
  3. Building 429
  4. Peter Furler
  5. Big Daddy Weave
  6. Kari Jobe
  7. Jamie Grace
  8. for King & Country (YESSS!!!)
  9. Rhett Walker Band
  10. Moriah Peters
  11. Finding Favour
  12. Hyland (Yay!)
  13. The Neverclaim
  14. Mosteller

Seriously, the WFRN Fest was my favorite festival I went to last year for a lot of reasons.  Amish Acres is beautiful, the whole thing was incredibly well-run, and the food and beverages were the cheapest I’ve seen anywhere.  (Need I mention they had David Crowder, Casting Crowns, Tenth Avenue North, Sanctus Real, and the Sidewalk Prophets in the line-up?)

I’ve already put in on my calendar for 2013 and bought my $29 two-day pass…you should too!

Into The Light Tour: Concert Review

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Alrighty, so on Friday night, November 9th, 2012 I headed out to Matthew West’s ‘Into The Light’ tour concert stop at IPFW’s Auer Hall along with my trusty sidekick, Sarah.  In addition to headliner Matthew West, the tour featured performances by Mikeschair, Lindsay McCaul, and Everfound.  Since I’ve been getting some flack via my e-mail for not posting nearly enough about music lately, I thought I would share some of my thoughts about the concert today. I do need to tell you this upfront, however:  if, after reading this, you are pumped up and ready to head out to the Into The Light tour, you should know that the tour actually ended yesterday.

Sorry for your luck!

In good news, though, if you are in Indiana you’ll have several opportunities to see Matthew West in the coming few months.

In not so good news, Mikeschair, Lindsay McCaul and Everfound shows are looking rather elusive in our area in the near future.

First up, I’m going to talk a little about Matthew West’s portion of the concert.  This was not the first time I’ve seen Matthew West in concert; Sarah and I saw him back in February when he came to town with Casting Crowns and we really enjoyed his performance.  Come to think of it, Matthew West must like Fort Wayne a lot because he seems to come here on a somewhat regular basis.  Anyway, of all the times I’ve seen Matthew West in concert, I have to say this past weekend’s performance was theshow of shows.  Sarah and I laughed, we cried, danced, and we cheered in our trademark two-part harmony.  (Seriously, when we scream it sounds angelic.  Really, it does!)

While some people count sheep to help them fall asleep, on Friday night after the concert I actually started counting all the Christian music concerts/performances I’ve seen this past year.  I started to lose track when I got into the 90’s range, but essentially I’ve seen a lot of shows this year already with another 15 more to go before 2013.  I’m not exaggerating in the least when I say Matthew West outdid all of them (and the bar was set pretty high coming in to Friday night).

Do you know what impressed me the most about Matthew West, though?  Right off the bat, as everyone was laughing and having a great time while he ran around through the crowd talking and singing with the audience, he stopped the entire show, the music, the light show, everything, and said “Do you want to know where my joy comes?  Make no mistake about it, my joy comes from the Lord.”

That statement right there, in my opinion, set the tone for the rest of the evening.

So, for sure you need to go see Matthew West in concert whenever you get the chance! If you live in the East half of the United States, Matthew West will be a part of the Winter Jam Spectacular along with Mr. TobyMac, Red, Jamie Grace, Sidewalk Prophets, Newsong, Royal Tailor, Jason Castro, et.al visiting over 40 cities this winter/spring.  If you’re in Fort Wayne, he’ll be here on January 20th (so feel free to get behind me in line!)  Tickets are just $10, and since I have seen every single one of the aforementioned acts, I can say definitively that attending Winter Jam will be the best use of $10 ever!

One last thing, Sarah and I stood in line for a very long time to meet Matthew West and get his latest CD, ‘Into The Light’ autographed.  We were also able to get our pictures taken with him!  Sarah’s expression totally cracks me up in the picture, so of course I have to share it.

Matthew West, Sarah and of course, me!

Moving right along, the next act I want to write about is Mikeschair.  This is probably one of the groups I have most been looking forward to seeing in these last few months of the year.  (Mikeschair is in good company.  The other acts I’m most looking forward to seeing in the next few weeks are TobyMac and Mandisa!)  I really like their current CD, A Beautiful Life, and the song ‘Let the Waters Rise’ and ‘Can’t Take Away’ from their debut self-titled album.  I thought they put on a great show on Friday night, and I have to say I was more than a little disappointed their show was over as quickly as it was.  I’m not sure I’ve ever honestly wished an opening act could do an encore before, but if Mikeschair had done an encore on Friday night I would have been totally fine with it.  Totally.

In addition to being amazingly gifted songwriters and musicians, the guys from Mikeschair are also exceedingly friendly and humble.  After the show, Sarah and I met them and were able to talk with them for a while and we were both really impressed by how down to earth and fun they were.  Mikeschair ranks very high on my list of the nicest bands you’ll ever care to meet, which includes (in no particular order) the Sidewalk Prophets, City Harmonic, For King & Country, and Royal Tailor.  Once again, they are in very good company!

Next up for Mikeschair is the ‘Christ is Come’ Christmas tour with Big Daddy Weave.  Unfortunately, they won’t be anywhere even remotely close to Northern Indiana, but if you are lucky enough to live near Columbus, Ohio or further south in the United States you might be able to go check them out.  (Side note:  I think Big Daddy Weave must have an aversion to Northern Indiana because it has been forever since they have been here!  Maybe we should ask Matthew West to put in a good word for us since he seems to like Fort Wayne?)

Here’s a picture of me with the guys from Mikeschair that Sarah took on Friday.  Don’t I totally look like I belong?  For sure they wouldn’t want me to sing back up or anything, but if Mikeschair is ever in need of someone to play the egg shakers or some other instrument that would be hard mess up, I’d be happy to help out!

Mikeschair (and me!)

Lindsay McCaul was one of the other opening acts of the night on Friday.  I’ve seen Lindsay McCaul in concert before (she was also on tour with Casting Crowns last spring), and she is just a lovely, lovely young woman.  She’s a very gifted singer/songwriter, and I really enjoy listening to her CD, ‘If It Leads Me Back’.  I especially like the song ‘Say My Name’!

Lindsay McCaul

Last but not least, I’ve got to say a few words about the opening opening act of the night, Everfound.  Prior to the concert, I had never heard of Everfound.  I’m guessing you may not have heard of Everfound either, but I’m also going to bet that this is about to change in a big way in the very near future.

Everfound pretty much has all of the elements necessary to be a huge success in any genre of music:  great music, a young, ultra-hip look, and a very interesting back story.  Did I mention that they are also freakishly awesome performers, too?  We’re talking bigger than big energy that proved somewhat difficult to photograph.  I was quite wowed by the pouring water on a drum and playing it thing they did.  (Okay, so I’m easily impressed, but in my defense, it was pretty cool!) I’m predicting big things for these guys in the future!

Everfound

I’m posting some of the pics that I took on Friday night for your enjoyment!  I had fun playing with my new camera and taking some shots in black and white and other non-traditional color schemes.  My “official” critic review will be up sometime later this week on Bryan’s site, and I’ll be sure to post a link when it goes up.  As far as being a critical review, you can probably guess it won’t be very critical!   I loved it, and if you get the chance to go see Matthew West, Mikeschair, Lindsay McCaul or Everfound, don’t miss it!

New Music Monday: Matthew West’s Into The Light

Into The Light–Matthew West

It’s time for another edition of New Music Monday here on Spin: The Blog!  Technically, this week’s musical selection has been out for a few weeks but it is sooo good I’m going to have to go ahead and write a little about it today anyway.  (In my defense, there has been so much good new music released lately that I’m almost to the point that I need to win the lottery to be able to afford my iTunes habit; so, please bear with me if I run a few weeks behind on my New Music Monday entries!)

This week, my selection is the latest project from Matthew West entitled ‘Into The Light’.  As you might expect from any Matthew West project, ‘Into The Light’ is exceptional.  Exceptionally good.  Matthew West is nothing if not consistently one of the best singer/songwriters around, and I’d venture to say that’s true of any genre of music, not just Christian music.

Jason Mraz who?

My top four favorite songs on ‘Into The Light’ are, in no particular order, Do Something, Hello My Name Is, Forgiveness, and Unchangeable.  With that being said, I honestly think anyone would be hard pressed to find a bad song on this album.  Yep, it’s that good.

I want to share one of my favorite moments that happened while I was listening to Do Something.  The opening lyrics to Do Something sound remarkably similar to a conversation I routinely have in my head with God and are as follows:

“I woke up this morning

Saw a world full of trouble now

Thought, how’d we ever get so far down

How’s it ever gonna to turn around?

 

So I turned my eyes to Heaven

I thought, “God, why don’t you do something?”

Well, I just couldn’t bear the thought of

People living in poverty

 

Children sold into slavery

The thought disgusted me

So I shook my fist at Heaven

Said “God, why don’t you do something?”

 

This next part of the song, a lyric I never saw coming, really got me:

He said, “I did, I created you.”

Somewhere far, far away, Matthew West smiles and says “Gotcha!” every time someone listens Do Something for the first time and has the same reaction I did.

Now, it’s my turn to encourage you to do something.  Obviously, I think you should go buy a copy of ‘Into The Light’, but if you are in or around my locale of Fort Wayne, Indiana, you have an opportunity to do something a little bit more.

For $15, you can pick up tickets here to Operation: Rock the Boxes on November 9th at IPFW’s Auer Hall and help spread the love of Jesus Christ this Christmas by supporting Operation Christmas Child.  Can you guess who will be appearing at the Operation: Rock the Boxes kick-off concert?  Well, if you guessed Matthew West, Mike’s Chair, Lindsay McCaul, and Everfound, you’re right!  For $15, I’m thinking that this concert is a steal!

I hope to see you there!  In the meantime, here are some other links you might find interesting:

Matthew West’s Website

Operation Christmas Child Info

Operation: Rock The Boxes Kick-Off Concert Information

Forgiveness and the Broken Dowel Rod Incident of 1983

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Matthew West has a new song out on the radio these days, and not surprisingly, it was love at first listen for me.  I love Matthew West’s music, always have and most likely always will!  He is such an incredibly talented singer, writer, and from what I can tell, human being.  My friend Sarah and I love going to concerts and nevermiss an opportunity to go see him in concert, never ever.  There’s only one other group I can say that about~and if I had to pick between the two…well, that would be a real dilemma for sure!

            Anyway, getting back on track…Matthew’s new song is called “Forgiveness”, and I was immediately struck by the song the first time I heard it.  In fact, I was pretty disappointed I couldn’t download it off of I tunes yet!  I’d like to share the lyrics that open Matthew West’s single, “Forgiveness”:
“It’s the hardest thing to give away
And the last thing on your mind today
It always goes to those that don’t deserve
It’s the opposite of how you feel
When the pain they caused is just too real
It takes everything you have just to say the word
Forgiveness”
            Writing doesn’t get much better than that, does it?
            As I sat in my car listening to this song driving home from an emergency diaper wipes run to Target, a few very honest, somewhat painful thoughts occurred to me.  In my own life, my experiences have been somewhat opposite of what the song describes.  You see, I guess I’m what my Grandma Bricker would have lovingly described as a fool.  Let me explain; you see, one of her favorite expressions was always “Fool me once, shame on you.  Fool me twice, shame on me.”  Her second favorite expression relative to being a fool was this one:  “Never kiss a fool and never let a kiss fool you.” I’m guilty as charged of violating my Grandma’s good advice on all counts.
            Being the fool that I am, many a time I’ve given away forgiveness like a millionaire passing out penny candy.  I’m really a nice person, too nice some might say, and I truly desire the best for others.  I don’t want to carry around bitterness and anger towards those I care about, so I forgive, even when the other party isn’t sincerely seeking repentance.
            As you might imagine, circumstances such as this has led in the past to the opening up of a whole new can of worms, but I digress.  The one thought I can’t escape from as I listen to Matthew West’s song, however, is there is one person I haven’t ever been entirely able to forgive, at least not completely.
            That person is me.
            I wonder, driving along in my car, why that is?  Why can I forgive others so easily, people who in certain cases have blown my life apart with their selfishness and deceits, while I can’t forgive myself for seemingly minor infractions in comparison?
            Most likely, it’s because I know my own pain and suffering is a direct result of my own sin.  For me at least, it’s easier to forgive others for the worst possible infractions than it is to forgive myself for the most inconsequential matter.
            I remember a time when I was a little girl, probably 6 or 7, and for some reason my Dad had brought home a bunch of dowel rods from work that he was going to make into something.  What, I haven’t a clue, but it doesn’t really have any bearing on the outcome of the story.  My brother and I had a jolly good time playing with those dowel rods—they made great swords, javelins, jousting lances and sticks to beat on each other with.
            All was well until I, in my infinite wisdom, decided that I would line up the rods across the arms of my Daddy’s red leather recliner to make a royal throne like Cleopatra had in a movie I had watched the night before.  Without a care in the world, I climbed up on my throne, sat down, and heard a crack as all the dowel rods snapped in half.
            To say the least, I was in a heap of trouble.
           (I should point out at this point that my brother was taking a nap and was nowhere remotely near the room during this time.)
            So, I did the first thing that came to mind.  I hid the dowel rods behind the chair.  Surely, that would take care of the problem, right?  After all, I was Cleopatra, Queen of Denial!
            My Dad came home at 3:30 pm like clockwork and went to looking for the dowel rods right away.  I sat at the dining room table, coloring in my Strawberry Shortcake coloring book, trying to look nonchalant, as my Dad walked around the living room, looking over and under the furniture for what I knew was the dowel rods.
            I saw my Dad approach the red leather recliner, saw him reach behind the chair and pull out the dowel rods.  All cardio-pulmonary function in my young body ceased inside me.
            “What the hell?” I heard my Dad mutter, his face reddening with anger as he looked at the broken dowel rods in his hands.
            “Beth Ann!”  my Father said, setting the broken pieces down in front of me.  “Do you know what happened to these?”
           “Brent did it!”
            The words were out of my mouth before I had a chance to think about what I was really even saying.  My Dad shook his head and sighed, and I watched his as he slowly retreated towards the stairs to where my dear, sweet, unsuspecting brother played in his bedroom.
            Moments later, I heard yelling, and crying, and I knew my brother was getting a spanking for a crime he didn’t commit.  I was filled with guilt and shame, filled with the knowledge that what I had done to my brother was directly causing his current pain and suffering.  It was all too much for my tender heart to bear.
            I flew up the stairs and confessed all to my parents and brother, tears streaming down my face like never before.  I begged my brother and my Dad to forgive me with all of my heart.  My brother, who may well be the one person on earth who has a bigger heart than me, was an easy sell.  My Dad, well, he forgave me…eventually.  I think he needed to forgive himself first for jumping the gun and not investigating the case of the broken dowel rods a little more thoroughly before dishing out a punishment.
            As I sit here now, thinking about those darn dowel rods, I realize that I still haven’t forgiven myself entirely for what happened that winter afternoon so many years ago.  I still carry that guilt and shame around with me, along with the sound of my little brother’s cries echoing in my heart.  If I’m being really honest, a part of me feels responsible for every dumb thing my brother has ever done since that day, as if that little lie I told set in motion a chain of events that would change his life forever.
            My brother disagrees with me.  He says he doesn’t even remember the Broken Dowel Rod Incident of 1983.  My parents, who are now grandparents to my own little boy, take a strange delight in giving me a hard time about said incident as recently as this past weekend.  I personally don’t think I will ever stop cringing every time I see a dowel rod.
          Of all of us in my family, I think my brother is the only one who has the right idea when it comes to forgiveness.
            The most important point I’m trying to make with this story is, sometimes the one person who needs and deserves forgiveness the most is our selves.  Sometimes, we are the most difficult one to give love and forgiveness to.  My question to you is this:  If we are reconciled to our brothers and sisters in Christ and Christ himself, but have not given our own selves the same act of mercy that Christ himself died to give to us, then what good is any of this for?  How can we treat others with love and compassion if we have no love and compassion for our own sinful selves?
            By all means, I say this not as a get out of jail fee card to go out and sin because we’re forgiven kind of thing.  That’s not at all my intention.  What I’m really saying is this:  Be a mirror for the world.  Forgive yourself.  Love yourself (and God).  Accept God’s grace.  Then go out into the world and reflect these things to everyone you meet.
            I once read the following saying:  “Remember you don’t forgive someone for his or her sake; you forgive them for your own sake.”  This is never more true than when you are talking about forgiving yourself.