Jonny Diaz – Breathe

By Stacey Stone

Driving home from work, you suddenly realize that one more stressor will put you right over the edge. It might be a terrible day at work or a stressful time with your kids but you feel the tightness in your neck and chest and rest seems so far away. So, what do you do in that instance? Well, Jonny Diaz would suggest that you breathe. Jonny faced fatherhood during a 40-city tour and the managing of his and his wife’s gym in Nashville. “We didn’t even have the baby yet, and I just felt so overwhelmed with everything life was throwing at me,” Jonny admits. Oh, and he had a quickly approaching deadline to turn in a new record but songwriting was stressing him out even more! What if he took the time, wrote a song and then it never made it on to the record?

“In some ways when I had to co-write, it was stressful, because I was like, ‘Man, I have to commit this entire day to writing a song, and I don’t even know if I’m going to use the song,’” Johnny recalls, looking back at the process. When he met with his fellow co-writers who asked what he had going on in his life that he could write about, Jonny admits that he downloaded on them. Realizing that he was not the only one who felt that way, they all put their heads together and wrote “Breathe”.

Alarm clock screaming bare feet hit the floor

It’s off to the races everybody out the door

I’m feeling like I’m falling behind, it’s a crazy life

“If I’m honest, I was just busy,” Jonny explains, “We had a new baby at home and so many things changing in our lives. But it was in that moment that I realized that I just needed to breath.”

When the stress is on the rise in my heart I feel you say just

Breathe, just breathe

Come and rest at my feet

And be, just be

Chaos calls but all you really need is to just breathe

“It’s not about just serving God,” Jonny reveals, “It’s more about knowing God.” He admits to being more of a Martha from Luke 10:38-42 and that sometimes he just needs to be a Mary and just sit at Jesus’ feet. “Knowing God needs to be at the pinnacle, the most important thing,” Johnny admits, “He’s not part of my life, He is my life.” Know that you can rest in Him and He has it all under control, no matter what you are going through.

Chaos calls but all you really need

Is to take it in fill your lungs

The peace of God that overcomes

Just breathe

So let your spirit rest

Lay down what’s good and find what’s best

Just breathe

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Plumb – God Help Me

Family Life Radio artist Plumb has has been a favorite of many listeners for years. And during that time, she’s wrestled with following the Holy Spirit’s leading. Now, on the release of her new song, “God Help Me,” she shares how being on tour with the guys of Big Daddy Weave changed her perspective and her life.

“God has been at work in my life over the last 18 months or so,” she says. “I’m different now.”

Watch our exclusive three-part interview with Plumb here and listen to Family Life Radio to hear her newest single.

The Importance of Christian Radio

Listening to the Holy Spirit (1 of 2)

Listening to the Holy Spirit (2 of 2)

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Colton Dixon – Bright and Shining Star

Colton Dixon is one of those people who you look at and know what he does for a living. Maybe it’s the blonde Mohawk, or the way that he carries himself that causes him to stand apart, but Colton would be the very first to say it is his relationship with Christ that makes him shine.

In the 11th season of American Idol, Colton laid his faith and his career on the line. Performing for the new judges of Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, along with stalwart Randy Jackson, Colton was brought to tears by his sister’s elimination that took his breath away. See, he was not alone in his quest to perform on the American Idol stage. His younger sister Skylar was very much the catalyst in his auditioning for season 10 and returning for season 11. In fact, Colton was not going to audition again but was there to support his sister because she wanted to sing again.

When they arrived, the producers and judges begged Colton to audition again, so he performed “Permanent”, and went on his way! Looking back, Colton says he can see God’s hand in all of the experiences and exposure that he received from being on American Idol. As a matter of fact, on the American Idol Live 2012 Tour, he was the very first contestant to perform an original song that he had written. “Never Gone” has become an anthem for Colton, and proof of what God can achieve when we step out on faith. It turns out that Colton and Jennifer Hudson are the only 7th place finalists on American Idol to reach #1 on a Billboard chart.

The debut album that he released was titled, A Messenger, and Colton says that he needed to make it clear through that title that he was simply a messenger for God’s word. He even took it the next step, and calls his fan club, “The Messengers”. With this album, Colton wanted to bring something different to Contemporary Christian music that he grew up with. His vibe is certainly a new and refreshing take on performing what he has in his heart.

Becoming an official Steinway artist (along with Billy Joel, Diana Krall and Harry Connick, Jr.), his face is plastered on the side of Mountain Dew cans, and a Boston ice cream company has come out with “Colton Dixon’s Rockin Red Velvet” flavor, but Colton is very careful to keep the focus on his music. Now, Colton comes to us with a new album, Anchor, and the lead single, “More of You”. That song has already hit #1 on iTunes Christian and Gospel Singles chart, but he says that is a complete surprise. “More of You” was the last song they wrote and performed for the album, so Colton is convinced that this is divine intervention!

Who is Going to Fight for You?

By Stacey Stone

“We took some really big, scary steps to kind of make this happen,” is how Mike Grayson of Grayson Reed described the process where he and his wife, Molly Reed, decided to make their marriage a priority, even in their careers. He continued, “Molly and I, when we met, we were in our separate groups.  I was with Mike’s Chair and she was with City Harbor, and we were kind of ships in the night for the most part, kind of going majorly different directions around the country. We just knew that that wasn’t going to sustain us.” So they decided to make their marriage a priority in both of their lives, including their careers and parenting. Molly and Mike have a one-and-a-half-year-old baby girl at home that has opened their eyes to how important fighting for your family can be. “It is the hardest thing ever I will say that first,” Molly explains, “those first couple weeks when you’re like I thought I knew how to live without sleep, but she’s now one-and-a-half, and she is – she’s incredible.  She’s such a sweet silly little girl, and being a mother has taught me honestly how much God loves me.  That perspective everyone says when you’re a parent you’ll view God’s love in such a different way, and it’s been so true.  I couldn’t imagine not doing anything for this sweet girl and it just gives me chills to think that his love is even so much greater.”

Their new song Fight For You, outlines their real world perspective on the struggles of marriage and how they can be overcome.

“I know how to be your champion
I know what to say to build you up
And I know how to make you feel pretty
I know how make you feel love
Oh if you ever start to wonder whether it’s still true
Let me tell you once again what I said, when I said I do
I’m gonna fight for you”

“We are so passionate about family,” Molly shares, “and I’m not just saying this but family is life and we believe that marriage is the core of that and then raising children and grandchildren, all that, it just kind of trickles from there. And we – we’re like what an honor if God would use us to help inspire and challenge and I don’t know strengthen marriages, which in turn will affect families.” Mike adds, “One of the things that I’ve really been working on is when Molly’s getting ready in the morning and I’m like ‘wow, she’s beautiful’, actually saying that to her because, if I don’t, she’s not getting the benefit of that.  So being way more intentional with my words with Molly and then especially with our little girl because I feel that weight of what it means to be the father of a girl.”

So, no matter what you are fighting for today, keep Mike and Molly’s words in mind, “It’s worth

choosing each other and choosing love till the end.”

 

Love & The Outcome – A Canadian Couple Obeying Christ

What was the most recent thing you celebrated with your spouse? Well, being able to celebrate with her husband, Chris Rademaker, when they were nominated for New Artist of the Year for the GMA Dove Awards 2014 was the best part of being nominated, according to Jodi King from Love & the Outcome. The Canadian couple didn’t know that their obedience would lead to awards; just believing that He had a plan was enough for them. But it does represent the culmination of obeying God when He told them to sell everything they owned, including their home, and live in their Jetta for a couple of years.

See, Jodi and Chris met when he was in another band called The Attics and she thought he was really cute. Fast forward, Chris’ band breaks up and they suddenly know that as a couple they are to go out and make Christ known. Not only did they “hit the road” leaving their home country, the two traveled to the Philippines, Liberia and China while landing securely in the United States and coming on a tour near you very soon.

When asked which song on their self-titled album reflects their belief in Christ, Jodi believes that is “Heart Like You”. With all of the changes that they have experienced over the past few years, she says that their main goal was to “stay in love with God”. And they continued to pour into their marriage as they faced a terrible loss. Chris’ mom passed away after a heart-wrenching battle with cancer and the couple had to sit down and decide if they would continue with their musical career in the same way.

They are the first ones to admit that you cannot continue to live the same way after losing someone you love and that it does influence how they live their lives now. And Chris knows that his mom would be smiling with the recent accolades they have received, including winning the GMA Canada Covenant Award for New Artist of the Year 2014. Now we have to wait until October to see if they take home the United States version of that award!

Side note: You can hear their songs “He Is With Us” and “King of my Heart” on Family Life Radio!

What Do Squished Grapes and Motherhood Have in Common? – Becky Kopitzke

By Stacey Stone

When we use the phrase “as a Christian” we tend to paint ourselves and others into a corner that Christ never intended to push us into. But when we add to that and say “as a Christian mom” that takes it to a new level and author Becky Kopitzke says in her new book The Super Mom Myth: Conquering the Dirty Villains of Motherhood that it is a painful level to try to reach. “I think we forget grace,” Becky explains, “We forget how God knows that we are but dust and we are flawed people.” And, as she goes on, Becky explains that we have been that way for a long, long time.

“I mean ever since the Fall, Eve started this whole deal but, if I were in her shoes, I would probably eat the apple too. We forget how fallen we are and we are spending our lives trying to be more like Christ. But that’s why it’s called sanctification, not perfection.”

Even as moms, particularly Christian moms, we strive towards a perfection in parenting that we were never promised.

“We are not instantly perfected the minute we are saved,” shares author Becky Kopitkze, “We spend our lives becoming more like Christ; our whole life is about running the race and in the end I will be in glory with the Lord and I will be beautiful and shiny but right now, I’m kind of a squished grape.”

So how, as a Christian mother, can a woman know that how she is right now is okay and recapture some of the joy that she felt at being a mother earlier in her life?

First, Becky points out that God knows that we are flawed and that makes it okay.

“God knows that about me and I think we expect ourselves to be perfect in ways that God doesn’t even expect of us,”

explains the author of the Super Mom Myth: Conquering the Dirty Villains of Motherhood, Becky Kopitzke. And as far as recapturing that joy that you felt early on about becoming a mother, even before you gave birth or adopted, Becky shares her wise words towards that goal,

“Think about that joy we had even before we became moms and we just couldn’t wait to be a mother!” She continues, “Then we get muddied up with the anger and the worry and the fear and the exhaustion and then the kids have personalities of their own and things become kind of messy. And we lost that joy that we thought we would have in motherhood… it’s still there! It’s still there and God wants to show it to us”

Ask God today to show you the joys of motherhood and then to help you show them to your family as well.

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Tim Timmons

Have you ever struggled trying to figure out who you are as a person and what your identity is?

When in ministry it is easy to view your identity as how people see you and what others expect of you, but this is not how God sees you.

Tim Timmons is known as a musician but this is not how he sees himself.

He says,

“I don’t really even call myself a musician. That’s what I do but I’m a revolutionary. That’s who I am and so I think because I have a mission that’s bigger than just playing music, I don’t really care about just music. But I care about Jesus’ revolution and this movement that has already started about 2,000 years ago. I’m just trying to catch up to it and invite other people into it.”

Tim is on a mission to change hearts toward Christ and challenge the faith of believers. He wants to challenge the beliefs you turn to and ask yourself if these beliefs are based on a Biblical foundation. As he prepared to leave, his daughter said a prayer aloud for him asking Jesus to be with her dad on his trip.

He realized his daughter mimicked a prayer he had said over and over and that it planted the seed of doubt that maybe Jesus isn’t actually always with us.

“That sends a really wrong theology and understanding of Jesus. And the great invitation of Jesus is different than a lot of religious invitation. His is so beautiful. He’s like ‘you guys, I’m always at work and I’m always with you.’ I mean, what is the number one promise of God that you would think of right now? I would probably say you’ll never leave me or forsake me.”

So how do you discover your identity in Christ? Everyone is called to play different roles for the Kingdom of God and for Tim, he believes he is called to surrender all he has

“My story is my perspective through cancer and seeing Jesus in the midst of it. Fourteen years ago I was given five years to live. I wrote a blog called The Gift of Cancer…But we have an opportunity within sorrow for perspective.”

Each service for God will look differently. Some will feel as sense of urgency and others will need time to prepare. Some will receive recognition and others will not. What you must remember is that God doesn’t see you for what you have and haven’t done in His name. He sees your heart. And He is pleased.

Mark Schultz’s Parenting Advice

By Stacey Stone

With those sweet blue eyes looking up at him, it is a miracle that Mark Schultz the dad ever gets his way on anything! His two young sons easily have their daddy wrapped around their little fingers but Mark Schultz the musician explains that his and his wife’s parenting styles are pretty close for one reason. “I just listen to my wife, pretty much,” Mark explains, “whatever she decides is good with me.” He goes on to say exactly why he relies on her wealth of knowledge, “My wife, let me just say this, you know when you have a baby, my wife is the lady who read all fourteen books on ‘What To Expect’ then she highlighted for me what I was supposed to read.”

But what about that moment when one of those precious sons woke up crying as an infant and Mark could barely stand to let him cry it out? “He would cry and I would just get up to get him and she would grab my arm and she’d be like wait, wait a second.” Experts agree with Mark’s wife, that the moment that a baby learns to self soothe is when they begin to control their emotions. In fact, consistent nap and bedtimes, working away from the swaddle so their hands are free and putting your baby down drowsy instead of asleep once a day can be added to waiting a minute or two before parenting a crying, supposed to be sleeping, baby. It took Mark a while to get that notion. “I was like I think he’s dying in there” Mark exclaims, “and next thing you know that kids sleeps through the night with no problem.”  If you are still having a hard time not parenting the baby until they are asleep, maybe just shorten the amount of time you spend rocking or patting them gradually to salve your own heart while teaching them to self soothe. And don’t be too hard on yourself if you have not taught your baby/toddler to self soothe… cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow, for babies grow up we’ve learned to our sorrow, so quiet down cobwebs, dust go to sleep; I’m rocking my baby and babies don’t keep. Or if you are a dad in the same boat, listen to Mark on at least one point, “Man, I just listen to her, she’s just a lot smarter than I am.”

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What Everybody Ought to Know About David Crowder

Have you changed jobs and wondered how that would change your life? Would you still be friends with the same people? And if you change jobs would others believe that you had fallen off the face of the earth? Well, David Crowder faced all of those questions when he decided to disband the David Crowder Band and become Crowder, an individual artist as opposed to a band. “People think I died or something,” declares David in a new documentary by Serial Box. Crowder + West Texas: A Conversation covers David’s thoughts on the new, his music and what it is like to perform onstage as Crowder. “Oh, I thought you were done making music! Yea, I get the confusion – the David Crowder Band is done, but fortunately, I am still David Crowder and David Crowder found out that he has to make music to stay alive.”

Moving his wife Toni and himself to Georgia released a new stream of country music from David and that is reflected on his new album “Neon Steeple.” “Getting out of Texas after the end of what was a 12 year span for the Crowder Band to who knows what. I really, I had no idea what was next,” explains David. “I don’t know if I was missing the great state of Texas or what or if it was part of life but these songs just kept coming.”

What was ironic about people believing that he had left music behind is that David was creating music that connects people. Music that, when you truly listen to it brings Christ’s grace front and center. A perfect example is his song “Come As You Are”:

So lay down your burdens
Lay down your shame
All who are broken
Lift up your face
Oh wanderer come home
You’re not too far
So lay down your hurt
Lay down your heart
Come as you are

David continues “Surely I could take the earthiness, the story, the narrative part of what I find so natural and put it into the same form that was more intentionally oriented. For people to be in a group together using music to express their experience of God and that is what was so great about that lineage of music; it was group oriented, it was community oriented from the beginning and so it naturally fits in a church.”

And don’t worry too much about David, “This music has allowed for some really deep friendships. I think a lot of that has to do with the nature of this music being so communal. That you’ve got to listen to one another to make music.”