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
So let your spirit rest
Lay down what’s good and find what’s best
“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.”
This morning we spoke with Syrian asylum seeker and artist Nada Odeh about simple ways to show the love of Jesus to the refugee community here and across the globe! This is a sample of Nada’s painting…from a series called Refugee Royalty Camp.[huge_it_portfolio id=”1″]
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.”
Jordan Feliz, new to Christian radio with his hit single, The River, started his music career in his senior year, joining a rock band and touring nationally for four-and-a-half years.
After that, Jordan became a worship leader at a church in Clovis, California. It was there that he felt God put a desire in him to start creating music again. Music, “directed towards Him”. That’s when he and his wife, Jamie, began praying and two years ago moved to Nashville.
But, the move and the adjustment to life in Nashville wasn’t easy.
“It’s definitely been difficult. He’s just been so apparent and we’ve seen so much of God working in our lives, so it’s really kind of been like walking through the fire feeling protected. It’s been awesome because in the difficulty we’ve been able to just seek him more.”
When asked what it’s been like to be a new artist on Christian radio with a song that has created so much buzz, Jordan was quick to say it’s been “overwhelming”.
“That’s basically my word for the year… overwhelming! I kind of came into this with not too many expectations knowing that I am the new guy. But seeing the way that God has really used this song and hearing the stories that people have sent, in the short amount of time that The River has been out, it’s been amazing. I honestly am so blessed and so honored to be a part of this.”
The inspiration for The River was John 7:38, “Whoever believes in me will have rivers of living water flow from within them.”
“It’s an invitation to everyone. To the person that feels too ashamed to take all their baggage to the foot of the cross, and to the person who feels like they’ve lived their entire life by the book. But more than anything, The River is an opportunity to go down in amazing grace and to rise up being made new.”
Jordan is married to his high school sweetheart, Jamie and they recently welcomed their beautiful baby girl, Jolie! And, the best thing about being a Dad?
“Finding a new perspective on the way that God loves us as his children, it’s created like a whole new respect from me to the love of God that he shows us, and it’s just crazy because I never knew I could love anything as much as I love my daughter. And, it just sets it in a totally different perspective now. I am his son and thinking that he thinks the way I feel about her. It’s just crazy. It’s just a total mind trip for me.”
Before Tenth Avenue North was a band and was still just a street in Florida, Mike Donehey and Jason Jamison moved into student housing together at Palm Beach Atlantic College (before it became a university). Before wives and babies, before Jeff Owens came on as their permanent electric guitarist; the guys decided to follow God with their music and there is no looking back from that. Now, with their recent release of their album Cathedrals, they are celebrating their fourth album together by calling their fans that purchase the album and putting on surprise shows across the country.
To say that Mike Donehey, lead singer and songwriter for Tenth Avenue North, is wise beyond his years would be an understatement. Just look at a few of the lines from songs that he has written over the past few years.
She says, “How did I get here?
I’m not who I once was.
And I’m crippled by the fear
That I’ve fallen too far to love.” – You Are More
Oh, Father, won’t You forgive them?
They don’t know what they’ve been doin’ (oh no)
Oh, Father, give me grace to forgive them
‘Cause I feel like the one losin’” – Losing
I wish you never thought you had to go
Wish you never thought you had to leave
Together we can lift each other up
We can build a shelter for the weak – No Man Is An Island
As a band, Mike, Jason and Jeff want to encourage their fans and anyone who listens to their music to pursue a meaningful relationship with Jesus. This message has a new audience, one that the guys love deeply; their children. Writing, recording and touring keeps them busy; sometimes they are away from home 15 days in a single month. So when they are home with their families, Mike, Jeff and Jason make sure that time at home is meaningful and positive. They encourage their families to grow spiritually, by acknowledging the sacrifices their wives make while they are on the road and taking on more duties when they are home. For example, Jason takes his daughters to school in the mornings. This gives him the opportunity to talk with them about the things going on in their lives and to pray with them on those mornings before the bell rings. Having children has only deepened their desire to share the love of Christ, now that they are experiencing a father’s love for his children.