Finding Favour Delivers Message That Needs to Be Heard

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Late on Saturday afternoon June 22nd, 2013 at the WFRN Friend Fest, I was walking in the grassy area back stage looking for former Newsboy Phil Joel, who I had inadvertently lost in the process of interviewing him. (I’m sure you’re thinking, ‘Beth, how does this stuff always seem to happen to you?’ I don’t know. It just does. Perhaps I may have offended Mr. Joel when I jokingly asked him if he used to be a member of the band Finding Favour because of his accent. Technically, if this did happen to be the case, it would be Allen from Finding Favour’s fault because it was his idea and he sort of put me up to it. Granted, it was epically funny, but technically…not my fault.)

Anyways, directly to my left, I see a guy walk out from between two tour buses parked nearby heading towards the stage. He was wearing a hat, but I was quickly able to ascertain this guy was definitely not Phil Joel (read: no flowing locks of blonde curly hair.)

Upon closer inspection, I realized that (holy cow!) the guy in the hat walking right next to me was none other than Mr. tobyMac!

So, I did what any other respectable, well-spoken, award-winning journalist and Christian music blogger would do in a similar situation…I said the very first thing that popped into my head.

“Hey! You’re tobyMac!”

I know, genius, right?

“Yeah, I am,” tobyMac said, laughing and extending his hand.

I introduced myself, and realized I had about 15 seconds to pump Mr. Mac for a quote about Finding Favour, a band I had interviewed earlier in the afternoon that is signed to his Gotee Records label.

As I started talking, I turned to walk backwards so I could face tobyMac. Since I can barely walk without tripping while moving face forward, this proved not to be one of my better ideas.

“Uh, you might want to watch out there—“ said tobyMac, nodding in the general vicinity behind me.

“Huh?” I replied, turned around, and walked head first into the loading dock ramp behind the stage.

I was seeing stars alright, and I’m not referring to tobyMac.

“That’s gonna leave a mark,” he said, inspecting my forehead.

Indeed, it did. (Granted, it also gave me the perfect opportunity for the next 3 days to tell everyone who commented on the jumbo-sized lump on my head how I, for lack of better choice of words, ran into tobyMac over the weekend.)

“Yeah, so about Finding Favour,” Mr. Mac said once it was established that one big knock on my hard head wasn’t going to deter me from my primary objective of getting him to talk about Finding Favour, “they wrote the song Slip on By. I walked in the studio, and I was moved; moved so much that I wanted to live differently. That’s the kind of song these guys are delivering. They’re a band with heart that I really believe in.”

Even after sustaining a semi-traumatic head injury, I was pretty confident that with an endorsement like this from a musical guru like tobyMac, anything I would have to say about Finding Favour on my blog would be kind of a moot point.

Not that that’s going to stop me from trying!

Just a few hours earlier, I wasn’t even sure if I was going to be able to interview Finding Favour due to a series of unfortunate circumstances that led to having to cancel our scheduled morning appointment.

Truth be told, I wasn’t even entirely sure I wanted to interview Finding Favour.

Even though the band’s publicist assured me that the band is, and this is a direct quote, “the nicest bunch of guys ever!”, a publicist telling me that (at least in my mind) is roughly equivalent to being told by my dentist that having my wisdom teeth removed “won’t hurt a bit” (for the record, it did hurt. A lot.)

Sometimes, publicists and dentists tell the truth and sometimes, they just have a job to do. You never really know which situation you’re in until it’s over.

What I did know is this: Finding Favour is composed of four guys from Georgia, Blake NeeSmith on lead vocals and guitar, Allen Dukes on vocals and guitar, Dustin Daniels on vocals and guitar, and Josh Duckworth on drums.

That in itself isn’t too intimidating, but the rest of what I knew from my research was on the intimidating side. The band has a stellar pedigree, from having tobyMac as one of their biggest fans and supporters, to working with legendary producer Christopher Stevens, who has worked with (no surprise!) tobyMac, Sanctus Real, and Mandisa. (The band also works with that previously mentioned publicist, who, in my opinion, is a rock star in her own right; but, I’m not naming any names. She knows who she is!)

The band’s music, I knew from my own personal experience, is so good it made my own family and friends turn into a band of thieves. (To read that whole story, click here).

Then, there’s Finding Favour’s image. If you aren’t familiar with how the band is styled for the cover of their EP, I would suggest you go google Finding Favour now and click on images. They have this ultra-cool urban cowboy meets modern hipster look going on, and as if that wasn’t intimidating enough, I was embarrassingly envious of their very fabulous hair.

I mean, really, it’s just not fair for a bunch of guys to have hair that looks that good in pictures all the time.

For sure, before I ever even met Finding Favour, I was willing to bet the farm that these guys will be the next BIG thing in Christian music—they’ve got the entire package, from an appealing style and charming stage presence (Southern accents? Is that really necessary in addition to everything else they’ve got going on in their favour? 🙂 ) to a dynamic, robust sound that crosses musical genres and appeals to every generation.

Yet, after meeting Finding Favour, I’m no longer willing to just bet the farm that these guys are going to make it big.

In fact, I’m praying in earnest that they’ll make it big.

Finding Favour truly has a message that needs to be heard, and for the reasons I’ve already mentioned, I believe they have exactly what it takes to go out there and share it with the masses.

When Blake, Allen, and Dustin arrived at my air-conditioned RV oasis for our rescheduled interview that afternoon, at first glance I thought there must have been some mistake.

Gone was the urban cowboy meets modern hipster cover model look, replaced by simplistic dark t-shirts and faded denim.

The collective hair of the band was, thankfully, normal looking guy hair.

The guys looked tired, but surprisingly happy.

I started out by telling them how I came to be acquainted with their music (to read the full story, click here).

Immediately, Blake’s eyes brightened. “You wrote that? I remember reading that! I normally don’t read those reviews, but I really liked that one. I enjoyed how you told a story and made it interesting. That’s just like how you write a good song, by telling a story,” he said.

I had never thought about it that way, but it made sense to me.

Next, the band talked about how they got their start. All of the members grew up in the south in Christian homes. Blake travelled and sang southern gospel music with his family as a youngster and Allen attended a small church, where he actively participated in mission trips and worked towards becoming a leader in the church. Dustin grew up a little further south than the others, spending 13 years in Chile with his missionary parents before returning to the US after graduating from high school. Josh, the band’s drummer, started playing on his first drum kit at 6 years old, and began playing for worship for his father’s worship team when he was 9.

From these similar but diverse places, the Lord started leading the Finding Favour guys together to the same place; first, Blake and Allen met at a local church and began collaborating on songs and ideas for a band. Then, when Dustin returned to the US from Chile, lo and behold he ended up at the same church as Blake and Allen, and soon after joined the band on the bass. The last to join the band was Josh, who had previously freelanced as a musician for other bands in Nashville.

“When we started out, we asked ourselves a lot of questions,” said the amiable Blake of the band’s roots. “What kind of band do we want to be? Do we want to be a cool band with cool lyrics and a cool vibe, or do we want to write lyrics that come from the heart of God?”

“We really feel called to be musical missionaries,” interjected the affable Allen, and Blake and Dustin nodded in agreement.

“Our music comes from experiences we’ve had in our lives, from people we’ve met,” said Blake. “We want to be able to share our faith, share that we’ve been lucky enough to have the people around us say ‘Hey, you don’t have to be perfect to be loved.’ We want to share with others that our relationship with Christ didn’t just happen in a day. It takes time to grow and find that genuine relationship with Him.”

The more time I spent with Finding Favour that Saturday afternoon, the more I came to see how central the word genuine is to everything they’re about as a band.

“We want to write songs that reflect God’s heart,” reflects Blake. “That’s really who we want to be. There’s nothing that we can do to encourage people that will encourage them in the same way they will be encouraged when it comes from His heart.”

The band’s debut single, the song ‘Slip on By’, has been touching listeners since it was released earlier this spring with its compelling, heartfelt lyrics paired with Blake’s stirring vocals.

The idea for the song originally came from a conversation Blake had with his grandfather on a fishing trip. “Grandpa and I were sitting in the boat and he had tears in his eyes,” said Blake gently. “He said ‘Son, I lost my wife when she was only 53. I lost my son at a young age. Looking back now I wish there was so many things I would have done differently. More than anything I wish I could hold my wife. I wish I could tell my son just how much I love him. But I can’t do anything about that now. What I can do is tell you to love your family with all your heart. Tell your friends about Jesus Christ because we’re not promised tomorrow. We’re not promised our next breath. What we have is right now. Don’t let a single moment slip on by.’”

Listening to Blake tell this story, I am struck by both how sincere and genuine he is. The same can be said for his friends Allen, Dustin, and Josh, who had since joined the fun.

I really had these guys pegged all wrong, I thought to myself.

They aren’t about making a fashion statement, or sporting fabulous hair.

Yes, they are sort of about the music, but it occurs to me that the song ‘Slip on By’ is more than just a song to this quartet from Georgia.

This is actually how they are striving to live their lives, from moment to moment, day-to-day.

This is how they can look tired, and still be smiling and happy as a clam at high tide.

Finding Favour is living the dream and not about to let a single moment slip on by.

In the process, I have a feeling these guys are going to shake the world. 🙂

Oh, and in case anyone wondered…I did eventually find Phil Joel, and he’s totally fine. (He thought the whole “Finding Favour accent thing” was hilarious, too.)

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. 

tobyMac TV Alert!

I don’t normally watch the View.  Truth be told, I kind of find it annoying.  (Hey, I’m nothing if not honest about stuff I find annoying.)

Today, however, I might be inclined to actually tune in to watch The View on ABC at 10 CST.  tobyMac is going to be lighting up the stage performing ‘Me Without You’!

Set your DVRs or TiVO’s or whatever other recording apparatuses you use to watch shows if you’re at work, ’cause this will be one you won’t want to miss (especially ’cause it’s free!)

The Great Debate: Is Christian music as good musically as other genres?

If someone said to you, “I just don’t think Christian music is good music. The lyrics are great, but it’s just not as good, musically” – what would you say?

Who’s music would you play for them or give to them, to try to convince them otherwise?

This topic is a frequent source of conversation among me, my family and friends.  I personally like to recommend tobyMac, for King & Country and The City Harmonic to naysayers of Christian music to prove my point.  

What do you think?  Who would you recommend?

Leave a comment below, or shoot me an e-mail to let me know which Christian performers/bands debunk the myth that Christian music isn’t as good musically as other styles of music. 

Have You Seen This?!

tobyMac’s got the intro to the 2013 ACC Basketball Tournament covered!

Let me just say this for the record (again):  tobyMac.  Superbowl.  Half-Time Show.  2014.

Anybody have Roger Goodell’s number?  Or maybe the Ops Manager at MetLife Stadium?

You know, just trying to plan ahead!

Throwback Thursday: Jesus Freak!

I’ve been trying to come up with something fun & new to do on a weekly basis here on Spin: the Blog. I came up with a couple of really bad ideas before I finally came up with one that I sorta like: Throwback Thursday.

Since I’m no longer young but not really old, and I grew up during what I like to think of as the Golden Age of Christian Music, I think I’m uniquely qualified to write a weekly blog to jettison my faithfully devoted readers back to the glory days when DC Talk, the Newsboys (circa Peter Furler), Jars of Clay, and Audio Adrenaline ruled my CD player.

For my inaugural Throwback Thursday post, I’ve carefully selected one of my all-time favorite songs, DC Talk’s Jesus Freak. It was a tough decision, but someone had to make it.

Let me break down a couple of the deciding factors in my final choice:

#1–Michael Tait’s hair in the video–that was one seriously rockin’ braided ponytail! What would you really even call a hairstyle like that? I have no idea. It’s totally awesome, though. I think he should consider revisiting that style for sure!

#2–Is it just me, or does Kevin Max look kind of like Jane Lynch at certain points in the video? Like, at the end in the blue shirt? Am I crazy? No, I don’t think so.

#3–tobyMac without a hat, sporting actual hair. To prove my point, Google ‘tobyMac.’ Click on images. Exactly. The man likes his hats.

So, here it is…my Inaugural Throwback Thursday choice….plus, keep scrolling because I’m also going to post videos from all three founding members of DC Talk’s current projects, just because I can. 🙂

Michael Tait and the Newsboys (circa the Michael Tait era, minus the rad hairdo):

Kevin Max with Audio Adrenaline…still not sure I’m totally sold on audioA without Mark Stuart, but I’m actively working on it. It helps a little that I like this video!

Last but not least, Mr. tobyMac. I’m sort of a big fan…(and that, folks, is the understatement of the century!)

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:

‘Steal My Show’ Lyric Video–tobyMac

TobyMac – Steal My Show (Official Lyric Video) from tobymac on GodTube.

Headed out to Winter Jam? Gearing up for the WFRN Friend Fest in June? Well, you might want to learn the words to tobyMac’s latest single off of the ‘Eye On It’ extravaganza…’Steal My Show’! It’s one of my favorites for sure. Check it out above! (And, if you like the song, be sure to check out the story behind the song below!)

tobyMac Releases Eye On It Video featuring Britt Nicole

http://vevo.ly/UlTPRQ

It’s a darn good day for Christian Music today (well, except for the Sidewalk Prophet’s bus, Bubba, breaking down in Alabama I guess).  Jason Castro’s new CD, Only a Mountain, releases today, I heard the Rhett Walker Band’s great new single, Come to the River, on the radio twice this morning, Hawk Nelson just released a new single, and Mr. tobyMac himself just released a brand-spanking new video featuring Britt Nicole for Eye On It.

As you might imagine, the video is pretty sweet, and so I thought I would share it with you (and, I’ll try not to mention the fact that I got to see Mr. Mac perform that song about a month ago, and I’ll get to see him perform it again on Sunday night…oh wait, never mind.  I just can’t help myself!)

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 6: Chris August’s Jesus, Savior

chris august jesus savior

Chris August – Jesus, Savior

As I write today’s blog, I’m actually in the Ohio city of Toledo for the TobyMac Hits Deep tour featuring Brandon Heath, Mandisa, Chris August, Britt Nicole, Jamie Grace, Group 1 Crew, and of course, the man himself, TobyMac.

You can probably imagine that I, along with my VIP Press Pass, am near giddy with excitement. I’ve been looking forward to this night for quite some time, and I’d venture to say that wild horses couldn’t keep me away from the Huntington Center in about 2 hours.

Well, that’s not entirely true.

One thing almost did keep me away: the Anthony Wayne Bridge that spans the Maumee River in downtown Toledo.

If you don’t know anything else about me, the one thing you will probably take away from reading this blog is the truth that I am kind of a quirky person.

For starters, I am physically unable to eat meat that has a bone attached.

I can’t stand the flute.

I have a bizarre, totally inexplicable crush on TV’s Turtle Man.

And, to the delight of my friends and family, I am freakishly terrified of underground tunnels and bridges that span over waterways.

We’re talking a hyperventilating, sometimes vomiting, crying and screaming type fear.

To give you an idea of what I’m dealing with, you should know that I suffer from a recurring nightmare in which I am drive across the Mighty Mac Bridge to Mackinac, Michigan. (This, by the way would never happen, me driving across a bridge like that. It’s better for everyone if I’m blindfolded and sedated in the backseat when we drive across the Mighty Mac.) In my dream, my Honda Civic turns into a science fictional submarine that transports me back in time to World War II, where I land on the beach at Normandy during the Allied invasion of France.

Not a good time to visit France, even in a dream.

Needless to say, as much as I love going to Mackinac Island, I abhor the thought of having to cross over the Mighty Mac in the process of getting there.

My experiences with the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco haven’t been much better. The one positive thing I will say is that the Golden Gate Bridge is breathtakingly beautiful, especially with two feet firmly planted on the ground outside the gift shop while taking pictures.

When I was inside a large passenger van driving over the Golden Gate Bridge…well, that was another matter entirely.

Earlier this afternoon, I was faced with my fear of bridges as I approached the venue for tonight’s concert. There, in between me and the Hits Deep Tour, was a really big, really archaic looking Smurfy blue bridge over a really wide section of the Maumee River. Seriously, this bridge looked like a bad knock-off of the Golden Gate Bridge, only not nearly as well maintained and with far fewer people on the pedestrian bridge.

I was in big trouble, and I knew it.

Abruptly, I pulled my car over to the side of the road to take a moment to come up with a plan.

Should I use my GPS to calculate a different route? A logical plan, but my GPS hates me and the spot I was in was a veritable no-man’s land so I couldn’t pick up a signal.

Should I call my doctor to have an emergency prescription of Xanax filled at the nearest CVS?

Drive across the Anthony Wayne Bridge with my eyes closed?

Turn around and go home?

There was really only one good option, and that was to buck up and just drive across the bridge. I thought to myself, ‘Really, what could go wrong?’

‘Well, since you asked,’ I replied to myself, ‘remember the bridge that collapsed in California a few years ago that killed a bunch of people? Or the bridge that collapsed in Minnesota? Wait, I think that was just a pedestrian bridge, but still, it collapsed. What if another driver veers into my lane and I end up in the river? What if there’s an earthquake, or a fire, or a tornado? What if….”

(Side note: you know you’re in a bad situation when you are having an intense mental debate with yourself. No one ever wins in this scenario.)

As I continued with my very long list of possible catastrophes that were not very likely to occur at any time, ever, I heard the words to Chris August’s song, Jesus, Savior, as his CD, No Far Away, played in my car.

Once upon a time,
In a town called Nazareth,
Lived an ordinary girl.

Mary was her name,
And she was engaged,
To Joseph the carpenter.

Suddenly an angel came,
Said, “You will have a baby boy.
But don’t be afraid,
God is with you.”

It occurred to me that Mary was a young woman who really had a legitimate reason to be fearful, at least when compared to me.

The angel Gabriel had appeared to her, announcing (and I’m loosely paraphrasing here), “Guess what? The Holy Spirit is going to come down and overshadow you, and you’re going to get pregnant! In nine months’ time you’ll give birth. Congrats, it’s a boy! He’s going to be, like, a really big deal. We’re talking the King of Kings and Lord of Lords here. A real VIP.”

Reason to be Afraid #1:  Mary had angels dropping in to visit her. I’m sure that was awesome, but freaky frightening as well.

Reason to be Afraid #2:  Mary was going to get pregnant, not the old fashioned way, but by the power of the Most High overshadowing her. I don’t know about you, but that sounds rather frightening to me, to say the least.

Reason to be Afraid #3:  Mary was going to be an unwed, teenage mother. She no doubt knew when word got out about her situation she would likely be stoned to death or worse. Yikes.

Reason to be Afraid #4:  She had no money, no job, no life skills. No way to take care of a baby, much less the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

Reason to be Afraid #5:  How do you even begin to mother God in the flesh anyways? Being a parent is tough enough, but being a parent to Jesus Christ…now that is seriously intimidating.

I’m sure I’m missing at least a hundred more reasons why Mary should have been scared out of her wits, but I’m going to cut to the chase and tell you the two things that strike me the most about this song, and this story.

The first is that Gabriel tells her very plainly, “Do not be afraid. God will be with you.”

The second is Mary’s reply to Gabriel: “May it be to me as you have said. I am the Lord’s servant.”

I love Mary’s response to the news that she was to become Jesus’ mother. What I love even more, however, is the fact that God promises the very same thing to me and to you that He promised Mary on the day she learned God’s plan for her.

God promises us that He will always be with us. Always.

There is nothing, not one thing that can separate us from His love, although many a fear and phobia have tried. When we are at our feariest, He is at His kingliest.

(Yes, I know, I’m making up words again…Deal with it!)

There is quite literally no bridge that He cannot cross to get to us when we need Him, pun intended.

With the song Jesus, Savior playing on the stereo and the song Jesus, Take the Wheel playing in my mind, I made it across the Anthony Wayne Bridge without the least bit of a problem.  For about 20 whole minutes, this was the biggest accomplishment of my entire life.

Then, in one of those weird twists that my life is full of, I unexpectedly got to have a little Q&A session with the one and only TobyMac.  You know, my most favoritest singing person in the whole wide world since I was 12 years old.  (Considering I’m halfway to 70, that’s a long time.)  The one person in the entire world I told my BFF Sarah I never wanted to meet because I was afraid I’d lose all ability to speak coherently, among other things.

Yep, him.

All in all, it was a supercalifragilisticexpialidocious-ly good day of fear fighting on my part.

Bridges and Peter Furler (the other person I never want to meet), take note.