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Issue #6 September-November 2012
Nancy reimann | Managing editor Jerry rood | associate editor Yo snyder | associate editor
Michelle Bransford | Misty Foster Will Hall | Nate Heitzig skip Heitzig | richard trujillo | stevo Jeter Jesse Lusko | Lindsey Maestas Katie Lynn Milford | steve reimann
D e S i g n & l ay O u t
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Did you enjoy the 2012 Olympics? We sure did! seeing athletes push themselves to incredible lengths and cheering for the good ol’ Usa, while kicking back on the couch with a bag of…er… carrot sticks. anyhow, this edition of Static Paper picks up on that whole athletic, winning/losing theme. Our noholds-barred interview with MMa fighter John renken looks at the ministry value of Fight church and we talk with anberlin’s stephen christian about what it looks like to win in the music industry. We also address tough issues like jumping the gun in “How Far is too Far?” and whether or not the church should be molded into what people want with “Why church?” as always, there’s plenty of straight talk about controversial topics , so, on your marks! Get set! Go!
-Static Paper Team
4001 Osuna Road NE Albuquerque, NM 87109 505.344.9146
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Fight ChurCh: reNkeN aN INtervIew wIth JohN
BY: YO SNYDER
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It’s a bit of hypocrisy because we love football and we love hockey
So there’s this sport called MMA (Mixed Martial Arts). It’s apparently one of the fastest growing sports around, and it’s gone from being an unregulated, underground “bloodsport,” to a faster, rawer, and in the opinion of some, a more brutal version of boxing. The premier league for MMA, the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) recently announced a partnership with video game publisher EA to produce a series of games not unlike the annual Madden NFL franchise. You know a sports gone mainstream when it enters the stable of EA Sports video games. However, when it comes to this sport and the church, it’s raising a lot of eyebrows. Outside of the church, people are curious how those who follow Jesus, whom they apparently can only remember ever saying “turn the other cheek,” could participate in a sport where you pretty much do anything but. Inside the church, there are those who are rather uncomfortable with the idea of such a violent sport being used as a hook for drawing people to a gospel of love and peace. And so the debate rages: Should MMA be a part of church ministry? Now, I personally don’t get MMA as a sport and have not paid all that much attention to it. I have plenty of friends who like to gather to watch fights, but fights don’t hold a lot of appeal to me. It looks like random chaos, and quite frankly, when it comes to fights,
I like the more choreographed and awesome-looking action sequences found in movies. Still, I acknowledge it’s a sport and that there are plenty of people who like it. What I don’t get is why people are getting so upset over the idea of it being a possible avenue for church ministry. I know plenty of people who don’t like basketball, don’t get basketball, and would never watch or want to play basketball; yet they don’t seem to mind churches holding three-on-three tournaments. They probably don’t attend or participate, but they don’t challenge the notion either. Now you’re probably thinking that’s kind of silly. Really? Then why does that happen with MMA? It’s a sport, right? Just because someone doesn’t like it as a sport, doesn’t mean it’s an invalid ministry tool, does it? Or is there something more going on here? Well, it seemed like the best way to resolve this problem was to talk with someone who’s very familiar with it: John Renken— former Satanist, former Army, professional MMA fighter, civilian trainer of Army soldiers, and pastor. In 2000, he planted Xtreme Ministries in Clarksville, Tennessee, a little town not that far outside of Nashville. The church was planted in an old fight gym, Renken was wellknown for being a fighter and trainer of fighters, so the church very quickly and naturally picked up the moniker of the “fight church.”
Renken says of that, “it never really was that, it was just that because i was a fighter, the church met in the fight gym, and the vast majority of people i reach are soldiers and fighters. it just kind of developed that kind of personality.” Considering his background, Mr. Renken, who was kind enough to allow me to call him John (something I just figured I should check on before I did, considering he could snap me with his pinky), seemed like the perfect guy to try and sort out this whole MMA and the church…well, I guess it’s a controversy, but honestly, I had a hard time seeing why, and I told John that. In fact, the first thing I asked him was: Who cares? Why in the world is this such a big deal? “Well, i think there are a couple of things there, and i’ll try to, you know, the church is still the Bride of christ, so i’ll try to be gentle, but that’s not really my forte. i think there’s a misunderstanding of what it means to ‘turn the other cheek.’ i was just having this conversation on a different radio show yesterday. i don’t hear any pastors complaining about the violent nature of football. as a matter of fact, i don’t hear them saying anything about hockey, and even in churches we hear the joke that, ‘i went to a fight and a hockey game broke out.’ Yet, we don’t have any problem with hockey players being christians, or
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churches holding super Bowl parties, or churches holding, i guess it’s the stanley cup for hockey, but you know, those types of things. so i think it’s a misunderstanding of what it means to ‘turn the other cheek.‘ i think it’s a bit of hypocrisy because we love football and we love hockey, i mean heck man, even if you’ve watched the NBa lately, there’s more fights than basketball playing. i can imagine if Joel Osteen, with that mega-church down there, stands up tomorrow and says, ‘God’s spoken and football’s violent and you shouldn’t participate.’ How’s that going to go over? “Now, i think there’s another part of this that people don’t understand which is, they really don’t know what the word ‘violence’ means. Violence is a word taken from violate, which means to basically take the rights of another, or to violate the rights of another. Well, in MMa it’s a sport. it’s just like boxing, it’s just like tae Kwon Do, it’s just like judo or any other sport, to be honest. You have two participants, whether those be teams or individuals, that have signed a contract that says we’re going to participate in this sport together, you can’t sue me, i can’t sue you, and it’s of a highly physical nature so the possibility of either of us getting hurt is pretty good. Now what you don’t hear a lot of these critics talk about is how after the fight, watch how those two guys interact with each other. a great amount of respect, a great amount of admiration, they hug each other, they shake each other’s hands, let’s go have some pizza, you know, et cetera. so i really think it’s a combination of a little bit of hypocrisy, a little bit of misunderstanding the scriptures, and then a lot of misunderstanding of what the word violence actually means—to violate someone else’s rights. and we’re not doing that, it’s a sport just like anything else. “and i think there’s some leftover stuff where you have some of these kind of, i’m sure you’ve heard about it, well i don’t know about in New Mexico, but here in the Bible Belt we have these guys who say you can’t do altar calls because Jesus never did one. so some of it just might be religious nonsense. You know, Jesus never approved or
disapproved of methods, it’s the scriptures that are sacred, it’s the scriptures that we can’t violate. Not methodology. as long as what we’re doing is not sin and darkness and evil, Jesus really didn’t have much to say about the methodologies. as long as we’re presenting Him as the truth, the Way, and the Life—the only way to heaven—i don’t really have an issue with it if you’re out there cross-stitching or playing checkers or fighting. so i think that’s some of it. and then the part that i think might be a little bit offensive to some is, i think, the church has been run by women and dudes who are more like women for so long that we don’t really know what masculinity really looks like. so, they’re so like a bunch of chicks, they don’t get it.” Now I recently turned 37 and I also recently took up Tae Kwon Do. Why? Because I have a couple of daughters who will be dat-
Jesus never approved or disapproved of methods, it’s the Scriptures that are sacred
ing in a few years and I want to be ready for… you know, whatever. I’m learning Tae Kwon Do through a church here in town that has a self-defense ministry. So, basically I’m going to church to learn how to fight, which apparently, is exactly what some people object to when it comes to mixing MMA and ministry. So a couple thoughts occurred to me. First, I’m a little too old to be doing Tae Kwon Do—it makes me sore and it hurts. Is there anything I can do to fix that? Fortunately, John did have some helpful advice on that, which he shared after getting control of his laughter. “i do have some tips for you. Drink a lot of water, eat some really good food, buy some Bengay or what’s called num-num. it will help decrease the amount of pain you suffer.” Good to know. The other thought that occurred to me was why would having a selfdefense ministry that teaches Tae Kwon Do, which does involve some sparring, be any different from having an MMA ministry? “i don’t see it as any different than a self-defense ministry. But to be honest with you, i’ve been having this conversation over
the last couple of days independent of why we’re interviewing, [and] there are christians who actually believe that you cannot defend yourself. ‘turn the other cheek’ literally means if i’m sitting in my house, on my couch, and a guy comes in with a gun, that my response is to hold my hands up and let him shoot me. Greg Boyd from Minneapolis is a pretty well-known mega-church pastor who actually believes you can’t be in law enforcement, you can’t be in the military if it’s an opportunity or there’s a chance that you might actually have to hurt somebody. He even went so far as to say that if you’re really a christian, you can’t even defend yourself in your own home against an aggressor. Now, most people probably aren’t that extreme and that silly, but i think that kind of nonsense has infiltrated the church and there’s this kind of wacky idea that ‘turning the other cheek’ and laying our life down on behalf of the gospel means that we can’t defend ourselves and we must be doormats to the world. i personally don’t see a difference between self-defense ministry, if you want to call it that, and a fight ministry. they’re the same thing to me. For example, i train the United states military how to fight, so does that mean my bi-vocational job is evil and sinful because i teach people how to fight in combat when bullets are flying? Where do we draw this line at? and further, if this was really the case, why didn’t Jesus tell the roman centurions to lay down their swords and leave the army?” The real issue here is exactly what John mentioned: Where do we draw the line? There are a lot of lines in church that have been moved over the centuries from music to Christmas decorations to languages to service orders to sacraments, and so on. Now the question is whether or not the line can be moved to make MMA an acceptable part of church ministry. Can it? Is there some reason it shouldn’t be accepted? And if the line for this changes, where does it stop? Do we start allowing mud-wrestling as a ministry? Some churches are already struggling with other things such as video games like call of Duty being used as a ministry outreach. So where do we draw
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the line, if any, for what’s acceptable for the church to use in its ministry efforts? When it comes to this vital issue, John’s opinion is: “there’s definitely a line. Like i was saying, i am not starting up a stripper’s ministry. it’s just not going to happen. You have to be culturally sensitive and you have to be, more importantly, biblically sensitive. there are things that the Bible just very clearly prohibits, and by extension we can draw principles from that and we can say, ‘Hey you know, it’s probably not the best idea for me to be in the ladies lounge ministering.’ so there’s definitely a place where we have to be reasonable, we have to make reasonable choices, and we can’t engage in darkness and sin. We are not allowed to do that. Now i’ve never played the game Call of Duty, so i’m not going to draw that line. i don’t even know what’s in that game, but we’ve got to exercise some common sense and look at what the principles of the Bible tell us. if it’s an area that’s gray, then leave it be gray. Why focus on that thing? if it’s something that we know to be wrong, then why would you want to do that anyway? i
use this one because it’s such an extreme example, but i’m not going to be in a strip club tomorrow night telling naked chicks about Jesus. it’s not going to happen; i’m not going to be that guy. it’s obviously wrong. “i just really don’t see where these guys come up with, ‘You’ve crossed the line’, ‘this really isn’t a legitimate ministry’, and i go, ‘Where’s the sin at? Where’s the biblical principle that i’m not allowed to do this?’ and it doesn’t exist. as a matter of fact, paul says, ‘i box, i box and not as one who boxes in the air,’ which is a form of boxing which we call shadow boxing. We use it to develop good, solid technique so that you can be watched in the mirror, so that you can see what you’re doing wrong. and paul says, ‘i box, and not as one who boxes in the air.’ that means that paul was actually training and probably hitting some dude in the head. i think that’s awesome. and for what reason, who knows? Because of ministry? i don’t know. Maybe he was just an athlete. Whatever. there have to be lines, though.”
Of course, regardless of what it is we’re using in the church for ministry, the real test is whether or not it’s helping to point and direct people toward the gospel. Unfortunately, sometimes the term “ministry” gets used as a convenient catch-all to do whatever we like as Christians; we just say we’re “doing it for ministry.” As I watched and read and learned about this whole concept of MMA and the church, one phrase kept coming up: We want to use this to reach people with the gospel. Well that’s a very nice, Sunday school-sounding reason for doing it, but my question was how. How does this reach people with the gospel? (A question that, quite frankly, needs to be thoroughly examined no matter what it is were using as a “ministry” for the church.) It was clear to me that John knew this was an important and serious question to consider. “sure. so there are a couple of different things there. Number one: i’m an MMa fighter. that’s who God created me to be; if you don’t agree, that’s fine. so the way i look at it is i use it just as though it’s my job, just as if you were a factory worker and you go to work, that’s your ministry. that’s the
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place that God has put you to reach out to people. Now i’ve also used it as an event to draw people in. i can give you a great example: In 2006, shortly before the Army base i’m at redeployed to iraq for i believe the second time, i’d have to go back and check which one that was, not really important, but they were getting ready to redeploy to war. so we held an MMa fight at the convention center and the church paid the bill. We paid for everything. We advertised, we marketed, and i got up in front of over a thousand people and said, ‘Hey, we just want to love on you guys. We know you’re getting ready to go back to war. We hope you enjoy tonight’s event. there’s not going to be any preaching, we’re not going to beat you up with the Bible, but what we would like to know is if it would be okay if we just prayed for your safety before you deploy back to war.’ there was a standing ovation. Over a thousand people stood up, began to clap, and when i began to pray, they stopped clapping, they bowed their heads, and thanked us for praying for them before deploying back to iraq. “so i think there are two sides to the ministry aspect of it. Number one is this is just who i am, it’s a natural extension because the gospel should invade every area of my life. so MMa then is being invaded by the gospel. it’s not that i go out and say,
‘Hey, i’m an MMa fighter and you should come to church with me.’ No, it’s that i’m an MMa fighter and the gospel should be penetrating every area of my life, and if it’s not, then we have to ask the question of what’s going on in my life? and then we do it as events, where we purposely use these events to reach people and there’s been this mischaracterization by the media that we’re setting up christians to fight each other, kind of like throwing it back to the roman gladiator days, or something like that. it’s not necessarily that. i’m sure that i’ve fought christians before. i’m positive. But it wasn’t marketed, ‘Hey this christian is going to fight this christian.’ it’s that these two guys happen to be believers and they participate in a very athletic, performance-based thing.” When he mentioned the whole Roman gladiator thing, the first thing I thought of was Christians facing off against lions at the Coliseum, which hopefully, is not a part of MMA events. John laughed at that notion. “Yeah, there’s no lions in there, there’s no knives or multiple opponents, none of that stuff and it’s not to the death. it’s a pretty regulated sport. For example, on the Fight Church trailer that came out, paul Burress is actually holding kickboxing events in his church, bringing people from the outside to the inside. i’m totally cool with that. i
don’t see any difference between that and holding a concert with Brian Head Welch in my church. i don’t see the difference. Now, that’s not the approach i’ve taken, because i’ve taken the approach of that we should go into the community instead of bringing the community in to us. But i don’t have a problem either way. so, i believe that the gospel should penetrate not only every area of my life, but every area of my city, every area of my state, every area of my nation. if that’s going to happen, that’s going to mean i’m going to have to leap the four walls and i’m going to have to go to where lost people are, and this is just an avenue for me to reach lost people.” Well, like I said. I never really understood why any of this was a big deal to begin with. I get that some people don’t get and don’t like MMA, but I fail to understand how that dislike translates into an automatic disqualification for MMA as church ministry. If there’s one thing I took away from my chat with John about all of that, it was, at least the way he approaches it as a ministry, it sounds very 1 Corinthians 10:31; whatever you do, do it for the glory of God. To which John provided the best concluding statement on this whole discussion that I could think of: “amen.” ß
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æ the JOcKS
this morning i picked up my daily devotional for a few moments of quiet time. as much as i would love to share with you the impact this morning’s reading had on me, i thought it might benefit all of us to consider a commitment (or lack thereof) to time spent in devotions. i received this particular devotional several weeks ago. after completing (and thoroughly enjoying) several similar devotionals in the past, i was eager to jump into this one for a daily dose of God stuff. Well needless to say, the binding on this one is fairly intact. the shiny red ribbon marking my progress stalled out in just a few weeks. interestingly enough, in spite of my inability to return to this devotional each morning, i found God’s message for me during today’s devo just as powerful as what He had for me prior to going a.W.O.L. You need to know, outside of this devotional i have had plenty of other meetings with my creator on a daily basis. the lack of this devotional has caused my relationship to suffer, not necessarily fall apart. However, you may find yourself in a more serious place—a place where any conversation with God has been non-existent. it reminds me of what i have been told several times during my decades-long walk with the Lord: “You may have taken several steps away from God, but remember, it is only a single step back to be at His feet.” No matter where you are in your relationship with Him, don’t think distance is anything that can’t be overcome. take that single step toward Him today. ß -stever static radio Operations Manager
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come at Me, bro
BY: MICHELLE BRANSFORD
i find that my emotions are pretty misleading. realizing that my emotions are deceptive before i say something stupid is a pretty big achievement. i’d like to be able to say that when i do realize this, i stop being foolish and the end result is that i don’t let my emotions bring out the worst in me—but that would be a lie. it takes a lot of tear-swallowing and silent arguments with the Lord to convince me that i’m not always justified in all the things i say.
right all the time, so when someone comes up against me, my immediate response is not naturally a soft response. Yet, this is exactly what it’s supposed to be. proverbs 15:1 says, “a soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (NKJV). this is pretty self explanatory, right? it’s definitely one of those verses that i find to be very challenging to exercise, yet ohso rewarding when i don’t lose valuable friendships or have to repair the damage
Confrontation can be avoided with something as uncomplicated as a soft answer, even if you know you’re right.
as human beings, we are emotional. When someone comes at us with a merciless statement, the last thing we want to do is respond in kindness. it seems that we have every right to put them in their place, and oftentimes this is how it goes: they say something unjustified, you retort with something warranted, UFc action happens (usually in your mind), and you walk away heated. Nothing was resolved. You harbor bitterness for 20 years, and then end up having to see a psychologist for the next two years to get to the root of all of your emotional problems… OK, that last part may be a little extreme. isn’t there an easier way? Why yes, yes there is. i’m so glad you asked! it’s no exaggeration when i say that God has been working in my heart every day on this very matter. i’m stubborn. i’m pretty sure that i’m i’ve caused out of a lack of self-control. paul tells us to “let your gentleness be known to all men” (Philippians 4:5, NKJV). By putting these two verses into practice, the Lord will teach you to not only speak kindly to your accuser, but also make it easier to understand where they are coming from, thus making it easier to just let it go afterwards. pick and choose your battles. confrontation can be avoided with something as uncomplicated as a soft answer, even if you know you’re right. God is faithful to work in our lives and through every situation if we just let Him. if you find yourself struggling with the temptation to say things out of strife, ask God to give you the strength to get yourself out of those situations through soft answers instead of hurtful and emotional retorts. ß
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BY: RANDI VICTOR
Hi my name is Randi Victor. I am 34 years old. i grew up in the country. My dad worked two jobs and ranched. My stepmom was the vice president of a bank and worked long hours also. i have two brothers and one stepbrother. two are ten years older and one is four years older. My grandparents are the ones who took care of me most. My dad’s entire family is christian. i was at church as young as i can remember. i went astray in the ninth grade. i moved with my mom because she let me do whatever i wanted whenever i wanted. i went from country girl to head banger. My mom was an alcoholic and smoked like a freight train. so did most of her side of the family. in high school she was never around. i ended up drinking, smoking cigarettes and pot. i was married at 17. at 20 i had my second daughter. On November 30, 1997 I was introduced to “crank.” i had already quit drinking and smoking pot when i got married, due to him being on parole. He told me i would get back to how i was when we first got to-
gether. i had gained a lot of weight and my self esteem was low. i was all for it. i should have known it was bad due to our previous two years, the beatings, the fights, and his staying gone for days without calling. it was a living hell. this drug led me away from God, my family and my kids…. it destroyed my life. i had multiple trips to jail and multiple suicide attempts. i would pray to God to fix my life. this is usually when i went to jail and the attempts failed. i did meet my second husband who was a christian. My sobriety lasted three years. then i relapsed. i was very ashamed because i knew i had disappointed everyone, but most of all i fell away from God again. i ended up marrying a third time just so i wouldn’t have to testify against him. i kept praying after he went to jail to make my life right. i was tired and didn’t want the drugs anymore. i went back to church and the Holy spirit came upon me that day, my body burned; i was on fire. i cried out to God to take the addiction of meth away. He did. i’ve been clean
with no desire to use drugs. i ended up going to prison. i was locked up for a total of 16 months. I was happy and free the entire time. in prison i was in the faith-based unit. i was getting closer to God and hearing his voice more and more. God knows what he was doing—i knew i had to get away from portales, the old drug friends—everything. so going to prison did just that. i thank God many times a day for sending me. it just made me closer to him and farther away from my old life. today i have been clean for 866 days which is two years, four months, and 21 days—tHaNK GOD He ListeNs tO praYers. ß —July 16, 2012
Send your testimony of God’s faithfulness to firstname.lastname@example.org for possible inclusion in the next Static Paper.
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How Far Is Too Far?
BY: RICHARD TRUJILLO How far is too far? that is the question. it’s an issue that causes even christians to question what is the right way and the wrong way. see, we live in a society where it’s culturally acceptable to have sex before marriage. it’s actually encouraged! and it’s backed up with preposterous arguments like, “that’s how we gain experience for our future husband or wife,” or, “Just have fun, you’re young.” Wait a minute! Do i really want to have as much sex as i can have just to gain experience and have fun, and down the road, have an stD or aiDs passed to my future spouse? i don’t think so. the average christian doesn’t want to go down that road. so we push as far as we can to the edge, where we’re not actually having sex—not going all the way—we’re just playing around. Or we use excuses like, “i’m going to marry him/her anyway so it’s OK.” this is wrong. it’s a lie that the enemy wants us to believe. You see, i don’t think we should be asking ourselves, “How far is too far?” that just shows that we want to see how close we can dance to the fire without getting burned. rather, we should be asking ourselves, “How far does God want me to go?” “How does God want me to treat my relationship before marriage?” We are in such a rush to get married and have sex that we push the envelope. i don’t care who you are, we live in a world where we are fueled by lust and sexual temptations, so we compromise our promise to God to not have sex until marriage. and before we know it, we have gone to a place we never thought we would go. You see, it’s so easy to come up with other ways to fulfill our sexual desires then actually having sex. and we think that’s OK, because we’re not actually having sex, we are just expressing our love for one another. Wrong! You want to really show someone how much you love them? Men, pray with and for your girlfriend and read your Bibles together. You really want to be with her the rest of your life and marry her? then love her as christ loves the church and sacrificed Himself for the church. sacrifice your own self, and put to death your own flesh so you may present your girlfriend holy and without blemish, beautiful in the sight of the Lord (see Ephesians 5:25-29). Women, don’t settle for less! i know you all have a list about that perfect man you are hoping to marry one day. Hold on to that, and don’t waste your time with a man, i’m sorry—boy—who is pressuring you into doing something that goes against your Father in heaven. that’s not the right choice. You want a man who is so in love with the Lord that he is not even thinking about touching you until marriage, because
I know I shouldn't have sex before I get married, but how far is too far?
he wants to honor God and do things right. so how far is too far? Don’t even ask the question. Don’t give yourself an excuse to sin. search through the Bible, and you will see His Word is clear and precise when it comes to holiness and purity. 2 timothy 2:22 tells us to flee anything that stimulates youthful lusts, and instead pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Flee. Just like Joseph fled from potiphar’s wife. Don’t even open the door of getting close to having sex, because eventually you will wind up having sex. Don’t push that big red button that clearly says, “Do Not push.” run to God for help and strength in your weakness, because His strength is made perfect in your weakness (see 2 Corinthians 12:9). God wants the best for you, so expect just that. Don’t listen to those who tell you that there aren’t any good godly men or women anymore. there are. it’s up to you to wait on the Lord and trust in Him. Be those men and women God has called you to be. remember God never allows you to be tempted beyond what you are able, that with temptation there is always a way of escape (see 1 corinthians 10:13). If God knows you can overcome it, then have faith in your God Who has confidence in you. ß
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LoCaLS Rule å
BY: WILL HALL
Everything’s Better When It’s
“You could say we’re a shoegazer-pseudo-indie-sultry/brave-hold-on-to-yourbritches blend of melodic genius with a hint of lime.” that’s how one of albuquerque’s local bands, archabald, describes their music. the first thing people tend to notice about archabald (besides how they spell their name) is their unique sound, which is made up of a collective of instruments and creative minds. Band members include randy Bowen (guitar/vocals), izzy pena (drums/vocals), stefan tomlinson (keys/ vocals/percussion), Josh Brendan (guitar) & Brett Bronner (bass). this is a group of very inventive young guys, i mean it’s the only band i’ve come across that uses a modified travel trunk as a drum set. the band formed back in 2008 in a hot garage. their original sound was a cross of heavy techno and rock. initially the group was just for fun, but after a while the guys started taking things a bit more seriously. Like most established bands, archabald went through some member changes in their early years. since then, the solidified group has self produced a few demos and is currently working diligently in the studio to put together a new six-song ep. impressively, all while continuing to play as many shows as five guys with full time jobs and families can handle. if you happened to attend Freedom Fest last year, you know they threw down a great performance. and earlier in 2011, the guys made it all the way out to illinois to play the famed cornerstone Festival. stefan, one of the original creative minds behind archabald, said: “We hope when we play shows we leave an impact on the audience. We love meeting new people, slapping fives, and giving hugs.” this statement is a solid definition of what archabald and its members are all about. they aim not only to write and play great music, but also to have a positive impact on fans through their lyrics and actions. No official release date for the new ep has been determined, but the band says we can expect it sometime between late fall and early winter of this year. thankfully, we’re not totally left in the dark because archabald frequently posts video updates online about progress on all of their current projects. You can also enjoy their unique, homemade merch items available online at archabald.bigcartel.com or at shows. to see a schedule of shows, book them for your event, or simply stay up to date with the band, “like” archabald on Facebook at facebook.com/archabaldrock. i expect to see big things happening in the future for these five creative and dedicated guys, so make sure you spend some time acquainting yourself with the “shoegazer” music that is archabald. ß
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æ CULtUre ShOcK
christians are called to make disciples of all nations—to be fishers of men. the question is, “How do we go about doing this?” static radio promotes a biblical worldview by providing music that provokes thought and discussion for further reflection. We provide an outlet to draw people—christian and non-christian—into the discussion, pointing them to christ. What is culture shock? Using music as a hook, we hope to create a dialogue that communicates a christian worldview, (even if the song comes from a crossover musician or group). When you hear bands like U2, sufjan stevens, and Mumford and sons on static radio, you are listening to culture shock. Basically, culture shock is our attempt to reach out to a lot of people through popular music for the cause of christ. some of the music may cause some controversy, but our prayer is that the “stun” will cause a deeper, more thoughtful christian witness.
Picture yourself in the living room Your pipe and slippers set out for you I know you think that it ain’t too far But I, I hear the call of a lifetime ring Felt the need to get up for it Oh, you cut out the middleman Get free from the middleman You got no time for the messenger Got no regard for the thing that you don’t understand You got no fear of the underdog That’s why you will not survive I want to forget how conviction fits But can I get out from under it? Can I get it out of me? Oh, oh, oh It can’t all be wedding cake It can’t all be boiled away I try but I can’t let go of it Can’t let go of it Uh-huh ‘cause you don’t talk to the water boy And there’s so much you could learn but you don’t want to know You will not back up an inch ever That’s why you will not survive
The thing that I tell you now It may not go over well And it may not be photo-op In the way that I spell it out But you won’t hear from the messenger Don’t wanna know ‘bout something that you don’t understand You got no fear of the underdog That’s why you will not survive, right! --“the Underdog” as written by Britt Daniel Lyrics © BUG MUsic
Will’s tAke: “spoon” by the Underdog is a catchy song about giving up on conventional ideas, pop culture, and big business to live your life as the underdog. it can easily be interpreted as an encouraging tune about letting go of your worldly burdens for a better life—as the underdog in Jesus. ß
Artist: spoon song: the Underdog AlbUm: “gA gA gA gA gA”
Listen to Culture Shock daily on Static Radio and join the discussion on mystaticradio.com or facebook.com/mystaticradio
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BY: MISTRY FOSTER
Brave In TheIr aTTempT: Special Olympics
but rather they focus on what’s different about them and how they can champion that variation. they don’t see it as limitation, but rather diversity. it takes a special kind of people to have this view. sometimes when we see those with intellectual disabilities, we want to look the other way or pretend we don’t see. Or, in my own case, sometimes i see them and i feel bad. it’s often in those times i wonder what God’s plan is for those with disabilities because i know He created us each in our mother’s womb and each of us is fearfully and wonderfully made (see Psalm 139:13-14). But I feel bad because I don’t know what the reason is. it’s all too easy to look the other way. But that’s not the case with those who volunteer and work at special Olympics. they don’t look for uniformity. they don’t believe in molds or cookie-cutter kids. they believe in individuals and desire to see them flourish just as they are. this has been a foundational truth since the first special Olympics was held in 1968. Anne McGlone Burke, a physical education teacher, started with the idea of a one-time, Olympic-style athletic competition for people with special needs. she approached eunice Kennedy shriver who was head of the Joseph p. Kennedy, Jr. Foundation, a non-profit advocacy foundation for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. eunice, being a Kennedy, encouraged Burke to think on a bigger scale and provided a grant of $25,000. Held at chicago’s soldier Field, home of the famous chicago Bears, over 1,000 athletes with intellectual disabilities from 26 states and Canada participated the first year. they competed in track and field, floor hockey, and swimming. in her opening speech, eunice gave the special Olympics their driving force that still stands today, “in ancient rome, the gladiators went into the arena with these words on their lips,” shriver told the athletes, “‘Let me win. But if i cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.’ Let us begin the Olympics.” the same words used by the gladiators in rome still stand as the oath of the special Olympics athletes today. Fast forward 44 years, and what you have is an organization that encourages those with intellectual and developmental disabilities to transform their lives and thinking. They offer over 32 Olympic-style individual and team sports, ranging from
“Different abilities, Not Disabilities.” this is the first thing you read on the special Olympics website under What We Do, changing attitudes. it goes on to say, “We believe in a world where there are millions of different abilities but not disabilities… people with intellectual disabilities are among the most vulnerable in the world. they are often ignored, neglected and excluded from schools and society. special Olympics may be the only place where people with intellectual disabilities get the chance to become part of their communities and develop belief in themselves.” that’s a powerful statement and it made me stop and think. i have two healthy children, ages 12 and 15, and they run, jump, and play every chance they get. they have been very sports-oriented growing up and have been active in ballet, swimming, wresting, football, and cheerleading. But what if…. What if my son didn’t run like other children? What if my daughter couldn’t throw a ball like her peers? What if their abilities were different? this is where the special Olympics come in. they specialize in different. Not wrong. Not bad. Different. Unlike many of us, when they see a disabled child they don’t think of their limitations,
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been looking for someplace to give your time and talents. even if you can’t run the 200M, maybe you can bring passion, dedication and a positive approach to teaching someone else to. Hebrews 12:1 tells us to run the race that is set before us, but sometimes we need a little help. Maybe you have a child with intellectual or developmental disabilities and don’t know how to get them involved. so many of us want to make a difference in this world but can’t seem to take the first step. We will make it easy for you. Here are two ways you can get involved with special Olympics:
You can give your time in various places within the organization. From helping plan competitions to fundraising and from coaching athletes to helping out with office work, they need volunteers in all areas.
What if my son didn’t run like other children? What if my daughter couldn’t throw a ball like her peers?
alpine skiing to kayaking, from softball to bowling. they swim, play cricket, snowshoe, and even play a mean game of table tennis. special Olympics now hosts events in over 170 countries from Yemen to tanzania and in 2013 will host their World Winter Games in pyeongchang, Korea. this year, they will give over 3.4 million athletes of all ages with intellectual disabilities the training, determination, and chance to achieve goals they might never have thought they could conquer. in short, they give hope. In 2009 a study, The Universal Impact of Special Olympics: Challenging the Barriers for People with Intellectual Disability found that “almost all athletes experience improvement in sports skills (94% on average across china, Latin america, and the United States). More than 90% of Special Olympic athletes from all countries experienced improved self-esteem and self confidence. social skills improved by an average of 95% across China, Latin America, and the United States. 65% of parents in the United states report involvement with special Olympics elevates their understanding of their children’s abilities and raised expectations of what can be achieved. the most impressive statistic: “Based on their reported level of activity, special Olympics athletes are more physically active than members of the general population in the United states” ! they’re not just building an organization, they’re building a generation. two years in a row, my brother and his trucking company were involved in an albuquerque special Olympics event called “World’s Largest truck convoy.” truckers raise money by having their trucks in the convoy and also bidding to have the lead truck and the “caboose.” We traveled with dozens of big rigs from coors and central through rio rancho and ended up at the Home Depot in Bernalillo. at the finish, there was food and a live band, and the kids got to climb on the trucks and take pictures. it was at this time i realized, while their disabilities might make them different than my children as far as development, their enthusiasm and playfulness still made them everyday kids. it was a great experience to be a part of, and i still wear my “World’s Largest truck convoy For special Olympics 2011” shirt with pride. so now you have the history of the special Olympics and a little information on what they do. What does this mean to you? Maybe nothing. But maybe you have
You can give individual donations in any amount to the local special Olympics of New Mexico, and 100% of your donations stay in New Mexico. You can become a sponsor for any of their special events or even get your employer involved and see if they will match employee donations dollar for dollar. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind (see 2 Timothy 1:7). Over 3.4 million athletes will be brave in their attempt, and maybe we can be brave in ours to be on the sidelines cheering them on.
if you have a child with intellectual and developmental disabilities you can call the special Olympics New Mexico Chapter at 505-856-0342. ß
special Olympics website:
special Olympics of New Mexico
http:/ /www.sonm.org/ http:/ /en.wikipedia.org/wiki/special_Olympics http:/ /www.eunicekennedyshriver.org/articles/article/60 http:/ /www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=9136962 http:/ /media.specialolympics.org/soi/legal/Impact-Policy-Brief_feb3.pdf
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What does a busy guy like stephen going to head off to Brazil and then austrachristian, who’s either constantly making lia, and then do some radio shows, put out music for new albums or performing music a record, i’m sure some headlining stuff, i while on tour with his band anberlin, do have plans to go help support an amazing with that rarest of rarity for a busy musical band in canada, so we have a lot of things star: down time? Well, he goes and guestcoming up. that’s basically called the cycle hosts on a local radio morning show for of a record, as i’m sure you know. that’s a month, naturally. However, helping out just basically when the record comes out static radio with the morning show isn’t you might as well kiss your family goodbye the only thing keeping stephen occupied for about a year, year and a half. these days, so we recently caught up with Static Paper: that’s so sad. him to find out what’s happening, what’s Stephen: Yeah it is, but they understand new, and what he’s been thinking about, and they’re supportive and passionate especially when it comes to christian muabout what i do as well. sic in today’s culture. any time you get into Static Paper: What are you most excited a topic like that with a guy like stephen, about with the album? you know the discussion is bound to get Stephen: there’s these songs, a few of interesting: these songs, that i absolutely believe in. Static Paper: this past May, you spent a as a musician, you are the most, well most whole month co-hosting the Static Radio of them, are the most critical of yourself: Morning Show with stevo. What was that “ah, i can’t believe this. i don’t think this experience like? album is going to be good. i don’t like these Stephen: Well it was definitely one of songs. How is this going to go over with those experiences in life that i felt like the fans?” Honestly, this is the first record was a once in a lifetime opportunity, you in a long, long time to where i feel like, know. Not many times do musicians have wow, okay this is going to make it, this is an extended amount of time off, and not going to have some impact, this has some only that, are they presented with the idea boom. so, i’m really looking forward to of, “Hey, do you want to come be on a radio The battle is you versus yourself. How station and co-host willing to go? the morning show?” so, for me it was like a no-brainer. so the thing was, yeah, i felt like it was once in a hearing the feedback. You know, seeing lifetime. how people react to it, seeing how they so, moving out there was incredible. scream along with these songs back to it’s something that i look back on very me on stage, that’s what i’m really looking fondly, not only that, but i would do it forward to. again, and again, and again because it Static Paper: How do you balance the was just so much fun. i think my favorite competitive side of the music industry with part about being in albuquerque was just the musical, artistic side? Meaning, the how beautiful it was and how many, you music industry, like a lot of things in life, know you have the sandia mountains, you is kind of performance based. in order to have the volcanoes, you have all these get the music out there, you have to have amazing places to go hike and trail and the that audience. in order to get the audience, petroglyphs, and it’s just outstanding, you you have to have the numbers. so there is know? But my favorite part of the radio that competitive side to it, but at the same was just interacting with the callers. i think time, it’s about the artistry, that’s why artjust to hear their side of it, and their take, ists get involved in the first place. and then and also making fun of stevo was a lot of for us as christians, it’s also about minisfun. that’s always a good time. try, but in order to do the ministry and get Static Paper: so, you’ve been a radio host, the art out there, you also have to “win” in you got that on your resumé now, what’s that competition to have an audience. so next for you and the band? how do you go about balancing that? Stephen: Well, it looks like we’re going Stephen: absolutely, and one thing you to do a lot of touring. Our record comes left out is inter-band competition, as far as out late september, so we’re about to do you versus other bands, especially if you’re an acoustic run and then after that we’re on the same label. and there is, there
really is. especially in the beginning on tooth & Nail, it was such a small label, very family, there was definitely sibling rivalry. and after a few years you kind of just stop. Because it doesn’t, again much like warring, it’s not going to help anything. and by you having this innermost desire for this other person to fail is so…borderline evil, you know? it’s just like, “i need to succeed, i’m going to claw my way to the top,” but really the battle is you versus yourself. How far are you willing to go? How many sacrifices are you willing to make to see your band through or to see that you get to the next step? are you willing to go study? are willing to go take an extra hour out of your day and go practice guitar, or go work on interviews, or go push your own band? stop worrying about what other bands are doing or winning or succeeding or losing or failing and just concentrate on your own because at the end of the day, that jealousy you feel is only going to eat you alive. You just got to stop. You just got to realize that it’s you versus yourself, and that competition is something that carries over into a lot of areas; you know what i’m saying? You know, if you want to get closer to God, it’s you versus far are you yourself, because God’s not holding anything back from you, it’s you holding yourself back from things. it’s your selfish desire, it’s your sin, it’s your sinful nature. Whatever the case may be, you need to get rid of that stuff, you need to compete with yourself, you need to have that innermost conflict, and you know who needs to win. You know there’s an indian proverb that says, “two dogs are fighting within me, whichever one i feed more is the one that wins.” in the same way, whichever side you fill, if you fill that jealousy side, if you fill that ego side, that pride side, that look at me and i’m so good and i’m so great, man, you’re going to end up with no friends in the music world. Static Paper: any world. Stephen: Yeah. Because that’s who we take on tours are the people we enjoy to be around. We don’t like egos. as anberlin, as humbly as i can say without sounding prideful, i feel like that’s one thing we don’t struggle with is pride in the fact that because we’re so close knit as far as brothers go. as soon as we see something in someone we say, “Hey, hey, hey. seriously? come on.” But again, it’s all about which
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dog are you going to feed. are you going to feed the one that’s the ego and the pride, or are you going to fill the one that’s hey, this all about humility? it’s about loving others, it’s about putting others first, it’s about being a good steward with what God’s given you and not burying the talent. Go and invest it, go and practice, go and work hard at it. Static Paper: at the same time, though, you have to find a way to be “successful.” Stephen: absolutely. Static Paper: What would you say your assessment of, like if you were to give a “state of christian Music today” speech, you know like a state of the Union address, what would your assessment of the state of christian music today be? We Stephen: Honestly i’m very proud of where it’s come, because if you would have asked me this question two or three years ago, i would have lied to you and said that i was proud. Static Paper: (laughs) Well, then how would we know the difference? Stephen: exactly, well, i’ll explain. i feel like, correct me if i’m wrong, but God is the creator, you know? He created the heavens and the earth. He created the earth, He created the animals, He created platypuses, He created zebras. His mind is so incomprehensible it’s probably not a mind, it’s probably a fixture of light, who knows? He’s just grandiose, but His creativity emanates. and we were made in His image, and yet for so long and to my embarrass-
ment, we absolutely mimic the world. they have a boy band, we should have a boy band. they have creed, we should have creed. they have this emo band, we should sound exactly like this. and it was like they have pop, Britney spears, oh let me add this beat and we should do this. that’s embarrassing. We’re supposed to be the leaders. We’re supposed to be the light in the dark, we should be the creative entity, we should be a mimicker of God Himself, the creator, and yet we sit here and we’re like, “Oh, they’re doing it, i’m going to mimic.” it was so embarrassing to walk into christian bookstores and you would see “the chart.” if you like them you’re going to like them; do you remem-
can go into the world but just not
ber those? if you like Nine inch Nails, you’re going to like this band, and it’s just like, what? No, wait, wait, wait. shouldn’t it be the other way around in some format? shouldn’t we be inventing music? How come the new trend of dub-step wasn’t created in some youth group basement on a Wednesday night when everyone was experimenting with music? i’m serious! Why are we not creating new forms of music? Finally we have bands like arcade Fire who are stepping up to the plate, winning Grammys, unbelievable musicians, talented, far ahead of the game. We have other bands that have taken leaps and aren’t afraid to experiment, to get out there. i
would literally say that’s the last year and a half, two years of music. We’re finally on the cusp of maybe starting trends, and i feel that it’s great that we’ve amalgamated into general market music. No longer so segregated, so bubble. anberlin is playing cochella. We have this band switchfoot that’s playing soundwave, and it’s awesome. Finally we’ve been accepted to where, OK, these guys are not just this hack of a band trying to mimic. Finally we have bands that are going into radio, going and taking over all markets. so i think that’s incredible, but i absolutely feel that’s a recent development that we are actually in some ways pioneers instead of followers. Static Paper: Where would you be of it like to see it go in the next few years as an industry? Stephen: Well, i feel like, again, we need not to create christian music, we need to make good music. i feel like that’s important, that we need to start creating good music that’s inspirational, that’s going to drive people closer to God, that’s really going to affect people’s lives. i think we need to get away from the mimics. We cannot echo everything that’s happening around us. We need to be leaders. We need to experiment. Where’s our Jack White? Where’s our guy that creates amps? Where’s our new form of music? Where’s the expression, where’s the overflow of the heart into new areas? i would like to see it be infused more.
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i would to see us envelop and go into the world. We can go into the world but just not be of it, you know? and that’s fine. i totally agree, how are people supposed to know if we don’t? if we keep to our little bubble with our little five bands and we all sound the same? Have you ever noticed you can flip through the dials and immediately tell the christian stations? i can go to any town and i can hear the keyboard part, i can hear the drum loop, i can hear those fake drums come in and i’m like, “Oh, christian pop. christian contemporary right here.” it’s like, why? Why can’t we be of quality? Why can’t we go above and beyond? Why do we just have to sit there and be the same, and rehash the same song over and over again, and stay in this bubble? Why don’t we just spread and go? Static Paper: Do you think that comes back, going back to that whole competitive angle, do you think that comes from an underdog mentality? that somehow along the line when it comes to culture, christianity has gotten this underdog mentality where we’re never going to be quite as cool, we’re never going to be quite as successful, so let’s just try and imitate as best we can those trends, because obviously they work. they’re successful, and if we want to be successful and have an impact, we should imitate that. Stephen: absolutely. and do you know how much money is in christian music? it is ridiculous. so if you’re a label, and here i have a band like Me Without You, who’s eccentric and all over the place, insane, mathematic poetic rock, and then i have
this one that kind of sounds like Britney spears who’s selling, which one am i going to choose? so i feel that it goes all the way up. i don’t just blame it solely on bands, i blame it on labels as well. they have to be able to step out, they have to be able to take some risks. so i feel like it’s their duty as well. But as far as the underdog mentality, maybe it did get in their heads. But also i would like to attribute it to how people like their safe bubble. i like it, it feels safe in here, i like my christian friends, i go to my christian youth group, and i go see this christian concert. How are they possibly going into all the world when they’re stuck in this little world, this little microcosm of pseudo-perfection, of “i gotta put on this grandiose show for all my perfect christian friends”? it’s just like, man, where is the truth, where is the reality, where is witness in all of this? it’s like i want to be a light in the dark, but i’m really happy in this room full of candles. i’m fine here, there’s no darkness in here and i’m good. i just don’t think that’s what we were called to do. Static Paper: What would be your dream project? if you had no restrictions, no financial restrictions, you could use any song that you wanted to use, no artistic restrictions whatsoever, what would be your dream project to do as a musician? Stephen: Wow. My dream project to do would be to come out with a four-disc album. i want to move to spain for one year, get four different producers, and create four different records. i love electronic music, I love M-83 and Washed Out, those are
some of my favorite bands. i would love to create that kind of electronic project. then i would love still more, like the anchor & Braille, like the more the contemporary folk, acoustic, piano-driven music. then anberlin being the heavy, vicious energy that it is, and then like gospel. Oh, a hymns record! i would love to do a hymns record. Static Paper: You like the old hymns? Stephen: You know honestly…this is hard because basically i don’t enjoy praise and worship simply because i’m an entertainer and when i look on stage my “entertainment bi-focals” come on and i go, “Oh man, that person is doing this to try and invoke this type of emotion.” the lights are on, the fog machine is on, and for me and i’m not…i know some people say if you’re going to do it good, do it the best you can for the Lord, and i understand that. But for me as an entertainer, it’s hard for me to look at entertainment and try to worship God, and instead of looking up, instead of looking vertical i look horizontal, you know, and so hymns to me just invoke this type of childhood, resting my head on my grandmother’s lap at her old Baptist church singing “How Great thou art” and the old hymns. so i would love to go back and do a hymns record. ß
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We have a lot of misunderstandings about what the church is supposed to be, how the church is supposed to function. a lot of non-christians won’t come to church because they have some hang-up—there are too many hypocrites there, they don’t like the music, they feel uncomfortable, they feel like people are judging them. i heard the story of a husband and a wife who got up one sunday morning and the wife noticed that the husband hadn’t even lifted a finger to get himself ready. and she asked him, “Why aren’t you getting ready for church?” and he said, “i have three good reasons: Number one, the congregation is cold. Number two, no one likes me. and third, i just don’t want to go.” and the wife replied wisely, “Well, honey, i have three good reasons why you should go to church this morning. First, the congregation is warm. second, there are a few people who like you, and third, you’re the pastor, so
get dressed.” What is the church supposed to be? Why church? i believe that most americans are hungry for the spiritual today. We desire an answer to our questions. it’s possibly one of the most spiritual times in our history, with the exception of the earliest days of the church. there are not more christians today, nor are there more people in our churches—but there is a tangible sense of searching going on all around us. people want answers to their questions. they want to understand what truth really is. an article in USA Today said, “people seem to want to talk about God.” and i agree with that—they want to talk about God. they don’t necessarily want to know God. they don’t necessarily want to answer to God, but they want to talk about God. Observer, writer, and tV journalist Bill Moyer said, “religion is big news. What has happened in this country is a slow but unmistakable
shift from materialism to spirituality, as americans have come to an end of their emotional resources.” clearly, this is a defining moment for the church. there was an old country song that had the lyrics “Looking for love in all the wrong places.” You know, i believe that many people are looking for God in all the wrong places. they are looking for answers to their problems in all the wrong places. Many people will not even consider going to church in this search. and those who do are often disillusioned. What’s the problem with the church today? Why are they leaving in record numbers? Many, in desperation, are essentially reinventing the church, so that it will have a new appeal. they conduct their polls and their surveys and they ask people, “What kind of church are you looking for?” are we supposed to mold the church into what people want? Or are people supposed to
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BY: NATE HEITZIG
Are we supposed to mold the church into what people want?
mold their hearts into what God wants? i believe one of the reasons people are leaving the church in record numbers today is because they’re not finding something real. and that’s sad to me because there’s nothing more real than Jesus christ and what He did for us on the cross. there’s nothing more real than the sacrifice He made and the relationship we can have with Him. and yet, so many people are leaving because they’re not finding something real in the people there. the church is giving them watered-down mush. it’s not changing their life. it might draw them in, but it’s not keeping them, it’s not changing them, it’s not affecting their life. i think that people are sick of all the crap. that’s the best way to put it: they’re sick of it. they go to churches, they go to parties, they go to college classrooms, they have friends, they have all these people in their life, and it seems like everything’s fake. seems like everything’s a façade, it’s a show. and we can get to place where we are sick of all the crap and we want something real. We want something that means something—something that we can wake up in the morning and identify ourselves with. We are looking for something that defines who we are. We are not satisfied with doing something just for the sake of doing it; we want to do something because it’s who we are meant to be. and so we are searching for that thing to fill the void in our lives. and we are asking ourselves: “Who am i?” “What do i want to do for the rest of my life?” “What do i want to be defined by?” and it’s scary! Have you asked yourself that question: “Who do i want to be”? What defines you as a person? it’s a scary question to ask. a church consultant took a survey recently. He surveyed members of nearly 1,000 churches and he asked the question, “Why does the church exist?” Of the church members surveyed, 89% said “The church’s purpose is to take care of mine and my family’s needs.” eleven percent said the purpose is to win the world for Jesus christ. then, the pastors of those same churches were asked why the church exists and 90% of them responded that the purpose of the church was to win the world; 10% said it was to take care of the needs of its members. so, why does the church exist? Who got it right? You might be surprised by my answer, and principally the answer is none of the above. None of the above. the primary purpose of the church is threefold: We are to be intimate with God—to exalt Him. We are to be involved with one other—to edify one another. and we are to be imparting the gospel to the world—to evangelize the lost. First, we are to be intimate with God, that is, the exaltation of God. God called
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us in ephesians 1:12 to live for the praise of His glory, that is, to understand that i am on this earth to glorify and know the God who created me. so next time someone asks you, “Who are you? What’s your purpose in life?” Here’s the right answer: “i’m here on this earth to glorify and know the God who created me.” that is our purpose, expressly. as human beings our goal is to know and glorify the God who created us. if we find our identity in this, then everything else will fall into place. 1 Peter 2:9 says, “But you are a chosen generation…His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light” (NKJV). the second goal in life, that we are to be involved with one another, really flows from the first: One of the ways that we can become intimate with God and exalt God is by being involved with each other. paul said his own goal was not merely to evangelize, but in colossians 1:28 he said it was “to present everyone mature in christ” (esV). God is the one who gave these gifts to the
lieve this, but i kind of believe that, but i wouldn’t force that on anybody and it’s just my beliefs.” they’ll flip-flop or won’t even have an answer. that shows they’re not involved in a group of believers where they’re getting edified and poured into, where they can know what they believe. Number three, we are to be imparting the gospel—evangelization. this is a natural outgrowth of the first two: being intimate with God and involved with one another. Jesus told us to, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28:19). Mark 16:15 says, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.” acts chapter 2 is about the birth of the church. although the church lacked every worldy advantage—it didn’t have plasma screens, it didn’t have propresenter, it didn’t have rock ‘n’ roll—though it was attacked both physically and spiritually, it not only survived, but it flourished. somehow they did it without surveys. they did it with-
with holy things doesn’t convert, it hardens the heart. Be careful with the truth: allow it to change your life. if the light of Jesus christ doesn’t change your life, it plunges you into deeper darkness. the same sun that softens the wax, hardens the clay. i tremble for those who choose to “play church”—living their lives with no real concern for the Word of God. they are the tares among the wheat, the mixed multitude, who come to church, but are just playing at it. the ananiases and sapphiras, the Judases, the satanic plants undermining the work of God. My commission to you is really quite simple: “preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables. But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill
I tremble for those who choose to “play church”— living their lives with no real concern for the Word
church, the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists and the pastors and teachers (see Ephesians 4:11). Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do His work and build up the church, the body of christ. and paul goes on to say, “then we will no longer be like children, forever changing our minds about what we believe because someone has told us something different or because someone has cleverly lied to us and made the lie sound like the truth. instead, we will hold to the truth in love, becoming more and more in every way like christ.” (ephesians 4:14-15, NLT). This is the edification of the saints. that as we become involved with one another, as we become plugged in to the church, not a church, to the church— globally, locally, personally—we will be equipped to do His work, which will build the church, and we will become more and more in every way like christ. Not changing our minds about what we believe but standing firm. You know, you can tell when someone isn’t plugged in to the church: ask them, “Hey, what do you believe?” “Well, i’m not…i’m not really sure…i kind of beout church-growth consultants. they did it without experts. Because they didn’t do it, God did it! there are four things that stood out about this church: 1) it was a learning church, 2) it was a loving church, 3) it was a worshiping church, and 4) it was an evangelistic church. these are the things that defined the first-century church, and these are the things that should define the church today. so, when you wake up in the morning, what is the first thing you want to do? What is your first love? there is a need for anointed teaching today, but there is also a need for anointed listening—listening with not only our heads, but with our hearts—an openness to God’s Word. “Like newborn infants, long for the pure spiritual milk, that by it you may grow up into salvation” (1 peter 2:2, esV). are you applying God’s Word? Jesus said, “therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, i will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock” (Matthew 7:24, NKJV). To hear the Word without applying it is actually damaging to your spiritual life. if contact your ministry” (2 Timothy 4:2-5, NKJV). Who are you? What’s your purpose in life? Where do you find your identity? if you have not already received Jesus christ as your personal Lord and savior— do it now. With a sincere and repentant heart, pray: Father, I know I am a sinner. I repent of my sin, and turn away from it. I turn to Jesus. I believe that Jesus died on the cross and rose again, saving all who believe in Him. Fill me with Your Spirit and come into my life. Transform me. Make me into a new creation. I pray this in Jesus’ name, Amen. if you prayed this prayer, please contact Calvary Albuquerque at 505.344.0880. there are people waiting to hear from you! ß
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BY: WILL HALL Typically, the name Project 86 has never been associated with terms such as “indie” or “underground,” but that was then and this is now. recently declared an independent band, Project 86 has a whole new frontier ahead. First a little history: Front man andrew Schwab established the band back in 1996. since then the foursome has spent countless months writing and touring the nation—headlining a good majority of those shows. Project 86 released their first album in 1998 under the label BEC, a branch of tooth & Nail. this self-titled album became an instant hit, selling over 50,000 copies. You could say the band “blew up,” in the sense that they became a rock sensation through their first release. since then, project 86 has produced six more successful albums through their tooth & Nail affiliates over the course of 11 years. it’s been three years since their last release; the band has taken some time to re-evaluate their situation. they have officially disconnected from any commercial music labels and are now completely independent. Like most bands that have existed longer than a decade, Project 86 has endured a few member changes over the years. their current and very talented line
We can be indie too
up consists of Dustin Lowery, Mike Williams, scott Davis, and andrew schwab. the band has been working relentlessly over the past year on their new album, Wait for the Siren, which released august 21. this album was funded purely by a Kickstarter campaign, thanks to donations from hundreds of diehard P 86 fans. The month leading up to the new album was full of special cD release shows, which provided attendees with the option of buying the new album before its official release date, another great example of the things independent bands can do that would send professional record labels into a tailspin. remains the main schwab songwriter/producer for the new music, but he mentioned in an interview with Jesusfreakhideout.com that their new album received a lot of help from friends. the sound is somewhat reminiscent of their first album, but it incorporates many unique guest musicians such as andrew Welch (Disciple), Blake Martin (a plea for purging), rocky Gray (evanescence), cody Driggers (the Wedding), Bruce Fitzhugh (Living sacrifice) and Brian “Head” Welch (Korn, Love and Death). along with this all-star lineup of musicians, Project 86 received production help from steve Wilson, producer of such bands as Jonezetta and the Juliana theory. even allison schwab (andrew’s wife) is involved—taking over all promotional duties for the band. andrew implemented the use of various celtic instruments for the new album that were inspired by his recently discovered irish heritage, including ancestors who fought for the irish Brigade. some of these new songs feature lyrics that were also inspired by a war theme. andrew schwab spends a good majority of his free time writing books and also posting profound insights on his blog site at andrewschwab.com With the new album comes more touring, this year and next. However, after their September 3 Freedom Fest performance, it’s uncertain the next time they will come through albuquerque. they may not look like the run-of-the-mill independent band, but Project 86 has proven, thanks to the help of their many fans, all it takes is a lot of hard work and dedication to keep the mainstream feel alive. With their newly found independence, i’m sure this isn’t the last you’ll hear of the distinguished Project 86. Visit project86.com to stay up to date with their future plans. ß
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æ Book RePORt
BY: KATIE LYNN MILFORD i had a difficult time finding a book to read for this issue of Static Paper and can’t say that i’m happy i read this one. Last issue i reviewed The Hunger Games by susanne collins, and Matched, by ally condie, is another one of those books placed in a future western civilization with a controlling government (i think that should be its own genre). it’s been on the bestsellers list, so maybe my expectations were too high. Matched is a narrative from the perspective of a 17-year-old girl named cassia growing up in society. everything within society is controlled in order to make life...optimal. From what citizens eat in the morning to who they marry and when they die—it’s all under government regulations. the book is titled Matched because it starts out with cassia attending her Match-Banquet, a sort of ball 17-year-olds attend to find out who they will marry once they turn 21. cassia is pleased she’s been matched with her best friend, Xander, and really is confused when the face of another young man, Ky, glitches on the screen before it turns to black. she basically is torn between these two guys and torn between the way of life she’s always known under the society, and a new path she wouldn’t have ever dared to travel in rebellion to the society—falling for Ky. the book is a “young-adult” book—it’s a good one for 12-year-olds. twelve-yearold girls to be exact. i say this because it’s a sweet little futuristic love story. Girls like that, right? the vocabulary isn’t that advanced and most of the sentence structure is simple, making it ideal for young readers. the character development isn’t terrible, but everything you know about the other characters is based on cassia’s interactions with them. One thought that came to my mind while reading this book was “What in the world is up with all of these books about a corrupt and controlling government?” they are everywhere, and i’m getting sick of them. Matched in particular took regulation to an extreme—the citizens of the society only had 100 pieces from each art category: 100 songs, 100 paintings, 100 poems, 100 films, and so on. Don’t get me wrong here—i want to have the freedom to watch and listen to what i want, when i want, as much as the next guy. However, a little regulation can be a good thing. We have movie ratings to restrict kiddos from seeing content that’s simply too mature for them. i’m thankful for that. My point is that while i’m reading these books that are anti-government regulation and take that idea to an extreme, i want to be careful not to adopt the idea of rebelling against the government that i believe God has placed over me. Romans 13:1 says, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (esV). the key here is that abiding by the laws of the government is biblical. i’m a Bible-believing christian, so until there’s a law that is restricting to my faith and belief in the Bible, i plan on submitting to the government and, therefore, being subject to my Lord. that’s my bunny trail for this review. there’s not much to say about ally condie’s Matched. it ended abruptly so if i want to find out what happens next, i’ll have to read the next book in this series. i don’t think that’s going to happen. Feel free to check it out for yourself, it’s an easy read but it doesn’t offer very much. ß condie, allyson Braithwaite. Matched. array New York: Dutton Books, 2010.
the guiDe å
BY: YO SNYDER
superheroes are often used as examples of christ archetypes. this is understandable, as they usually display amazing powers, are generally self-sacrificing, help to protect the innocent and fight evil, and let’s face it, they quite commonly die and come back to life again. so it’s easy to see why those parallels are so often drawn. However, while i was watching the excellent Superman vs. The Elite, it occurred to me that while there may be many similarities between superheroes—superman in particular—and Jesus, there is one distinguishing factor that separates them which we must always remember: superman is not Jesus. the movie is based on just one issue of Action Comics published way back on 2001 called “What’s so Funny about truth, Justice and the american Way?” it tackles some big questions about what the right way to solve today’s problems may be if
one has the power to truly make changes, and more interestingly, whether or not superman’s boy scout, goodie-two-shoes act is still relevant in the harsh reality of today’s world. is there still room for an inspirational figure of good, or do we need to be more pragmatic? these are good questions, to be sure, and it’s a surprisingly philosophical film despite the fact that it’s “just a cartoon.” However, in tackling these issues, this movie also clearly illustrates why superman should never be mistaken for Jesus. early in the film, superman makes an interesting statement. He talks about how he believes in humanity, how he believes that deep down people are all basically good and what they need is an example to inspire them to reach for that goodness within and use it to accomplish great things. that right there is where superman is separated from Jesus in a very big way. First, Jesus didn’t have any such notion about humanity being
good because he knew that just wasn’t true. it’s not something we really like to hear, but the Bible is very clear on this point. psalm 14:3 clearly states “All have turned aside, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one.” this is further emphasized and repeated in romans 3 as Paul states quite clearly “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). So Jesus never thought that people were “basically good,” which leads to the next point that separates him from superman: Jesus didn’t come to inspire, He came to change. so many times i hear people talk about what an inspiring teacher Jesus was and what a great moral example He was. if that was all He was, then sure, He’s actually a lot like superman. superman wants to inspire goodness in others by setting the example, by showing people what it looks like to be “better. ” Jesus didn’t come here for
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any such thing. He knew that inspiration wouldn’t be enough because the fact is the nature of humanity isn’t basically good, it’s sinful. in order for people to truly be better, to be good, they didn’t need inspiration, they needed a change of nature. Jesus came as God in the flesh, died on the cross to take care of sin since we couldn’t solve that problem on our own, rose from the dead thereby conquering death so we no longer had to fear it, ascended into heaven, and sent the Holy spirit to be with us. all of this makes true change possible, allows us to truly experience goodness and righteousness, and allows us to truly be “better” in a way that mere inspiration could never provide. as 2 corinthians 5:17 states
so well, “therefore, if anyone is in christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” that’s something that even superman just isn’t capable of. the Man of steel can save a body from a moment of immediate peril, but only Jesus can save a soul and save it for eternity. superman is not Jesus, or vice versa. While there are plenty of parallels, the few things that set them apart really set them apart. the difference between the need for inspiration and the need for change is the difference of eternity. Nevertheless, Superman vs. The Elite does a great job of raising these questions even as it raises the question of whether or not we even need a superman, or a savior for that matter. While
it doesn’t get everything right, it at least draws the correct conclusion that when it’s left to us to decide what’s right and good, that will only take us to a bad place. Superman vs. The Elite is that special kind of superhero movie that is not only a whole lot of fun, but thought provoking and challenging as well. and it’s animated! (and by the way, parents, just because it’s a cartoon doesn’t mean it’s for kids; it’s violent and brutal, and also has some mild innuendo to boot.) i just wish Dc and Warner Bros. could do for the live-action films (outside of Nolan’s Batman films, naturally) what they’ve done so well with many of their animated movies. ß
the tOWn å
Diving in the Desert
BY: LINDSEY MAESTAS artifacts keep the experience appealing and entertaining. At a constant temperature of 64 degrees, swimming may be most comfortable in a wetsuit for the faint of heart, but it is the perfect delight for swimmers and divers during days of sweltering heat. Whether in a bathing suit or wetsuit, cliff jumping from thrilling heights can be the highlight of every traveler’s day. after stopping at the Blue Hole, head just a few miles over to the lakes of santa rosa for boating, water sports, and great fishing. among all of the pristine bodies of water, one of the most exciting is park Lake. Not only does this lake have a 32-foot waterslide, they also offer pedal boats and canoes to float around this large watering hole. as the sun goes down, marshmallows, a tent, and a cozy blanket are the perfect combination after a long day of water activities. santa rosa offers great camping sites on the historic Route 66, where you can cuddle up and tell stories by the campfire. this outdoor atmosphere is the perfect place to spend some intimate time with Jesus, so roll the windows down, turn the music up and enjoy a weekend vacation with wonderful friends and family. ß
the scorching summer days in albuquerque leave us longing for a cold splash of refreshment. though our desert state may not be known for beautiful beaches or open waters, there is one revitalizing spot that offers great ways to cool off—santa rosa, New Mexico. the opportunities are endless at this destination spot in New Mexico. an enjoyable road trip with friends can lead to a thrilling weekend of swimming, scuba diving, and camping. Only two hours east of albuquerque, santa rosa offers one of the top-rated diving destinations in the United states—the Blue Hole. travelers from across the world come to experience this bright blue, crystal-clear location. three-thousand gallons of water flow from a fresh, underwater aquifer providing clarity that allows swimmers to look straight down to the bottom of the Blue Hole. although there may not be any exotic fish or coral reefs, hidden caves and old
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SoUND checK å
BY: STEVO JETER
as i sat down to write my normal article for Static Paper, i was interrupted by a phone call from a gentleman hailing from Oregon who was quite upset. He originally dialed a 1-800 number needing pastoral advice because his “friends” recently told him he listened to “devil music.” Like any normal dude, he was taken aback by this and began searching for answers in the Bible. still frustrated, he called a hotline and somehow made his way to my desk. He had never heard of static radio or what we are all about but he was set on finding answers. so he began to tell me his sad tale of how people in his church were appalled by his musical taste. How christians only listen to “Godly music.” How even though his music was labeled “christian rock,” it obviously wasn’t—because it was too loud. too driven. too “worldly.” Unfortunately i’ve heard stories like this on more than one occasion, and the biggest question i’m asked is: What is classified as “christian” music? is it the guitars? the BpMs? the lyrics? the band members’ lifestyles? My snarky response is usually something along the lines of: “since when did music have a soul capable of accepting christ?” My grandmother would say the hymns.
You know: “amazing Grace,” “it is Well, ” “i’ll Fly away, ” etc. the funny thing about that is many of the hymns were written by theologians who didn’t have a musical bone in their body. take the Wesley brothers for instance. charles and John Wesley, founders of the Methodist movement in 18th century england, are responsible for writing thousands of hymns themselves with words like: Look unto Him, ye nations, own Your God, ye fallen race; Look, and be saved through faith alone, Be justified by grace. see all your sins on Jesus laid: the Lamb of God was slain, His soul was once an offering made For every soul of man. Harlots and publicans and thieves in holy triumph join! saved is the sinner that believes From crimes as great as mine. Murderers and all ye hellish crew Ye sons of lust and pride, Believe the savior died for you; For me the savior died. Beautiful, right? Yet he wasn’t a musician so charles set such words to “tavern tunes” or bar songs. songs drunks would sing in pubs in england. songs he then re-
wrote with grand theological themes to glorify God with. Like those who say we must flee from “worldly” music, some frowned upon singing bar tunes at the time. Yet here we are centuries later using the same tunes as examples of what is considered “godly” music…so what gives? Did God change His mind on this matter? are these songs somehow “set apart” now, or have we tried to define what brings glory to God incorrectly? psalm 150 tells us to praise the Lord with everything. trumpets are mentioned, and cymbals, and the harp and lyre. With strings and pipes and dancing. all of those things glorify God. the problem comes in when we think those are the important parts of the music. the honor doesn’t come from the strings or the horns. it’s not about what instruments you use or the style you play them with. it’s not about the beat or even the style of singing used. the worship comes from you, his created instrument. As 1 Corinthians 10:31 reminds us, “Whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” and that brings about the right question…the music you listen to, whatever the style it may be, does it bring glory to God? ß
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SHOULD WINNING MATTER?
BY: YO SNYDER You can always rely on Homer simpson to say the exact thing that no parent should ever say. “Hey! apu just called. this Friday, Lisa’s team is playing Bart’s team. You’re in direct competition. and don’t go easy on each other just because you’re brother and sister. i want to see you both fighting for your parents’ love!” in the episode “Lisa On ice” from the sixth season of The Simpsons, both Lisa and Bart end up playing hockey, which for any other parent would present the usual opportunity to explain that it’s not all about winning, that both children are equally loved regardless of who wins, and the most important thing in sports is to have fun. Of course, Homer isn’t any other parent. When Bart scores a goal Homer yells, “i love Bart!” When Lisa blocks a shot he yells, “No wait! i love Lisa!” When Marge comes back from the concessions stand he says, “Beer? Oh Marge, i love you.” Just in case you’re curious, in the end Bart and Lisa realize on their own that their relationship is more important than proving who’s better at hockey, and they skate off hand-inhand leaving the game tied; which causes the crowd to riot. after all, sports are all about winning, right? But just what is the point of winning? More importantly, should winning even matter to christians? i know what you’re thinking—you’re thinking those are some pretty silly questions, right? Of course winning matters; that’s what competition is all about. plus, among other things, it gives christians a great platform for sharing the gospel. and losing doesn’t? During the recent tebowmania, when the unorthodox tim tebow somehow found a way to lead the Denver Broncos to six amazing comeback wins last season in the NFL and a big win in the playoffs over the pittsburgh steelers, there was just as much being said about his “christian witness” as his play on the football field. (to be fair, there were probably better things being said about his witness compared to his playing, because…well, you know.) there were even questions being raised over whether or not “st. tim” had an unfair advantage, what with God being “on his side” and all. it was even spoofed on Saturday Night Live, with Jesus himself showing up to help support tim tebow as he got ready to face the New england patriots. However, it was very rightly pointed out that many of the teams he played against and beat had devout, praying christians
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as well. so was this an indication of God playing favorites (despite the fact that God says he doesn’t play favorites—see romans 2:11)? What about when Linsanity struck as Jeremy Lin helped the New York Knicks rattle off an amazing stretch of wins in the NBa? Did that have anything to do with his faith? is winning a sign of a strong christian faith and God’s favor? is losing the sign of the opposite? Does winning somehow bring more glory to God? Does losing disappoint God? Does He really care all that much either way? Now, i totally agree that we should take our talents and gifts and use them to the best of our ability. We should hone them and refine them to be the best at whatever it is God has gifted us to do. i think that’s very much in line with 1 Corinthians 10:31 where it says “Whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.” However, i wonder how much winning is a part of that equation. sure, hard work and practice, refining our skills to be the best should help lead to more wins, but if we’re doing our best and doing it for the glory of God, does winning matter? and if we don’t, is God somehow let down by us losing? is He disappointed when we lose? One of the key moments for me when it comes to this whole winning thing happened when i was about nine or ten. My youngest brother fell from our second story deck head-first onto the concrete patio below. i didn’t know if my baby brother was going to live or die, but as my parents rushed off to the er, our neighbor took me and the rest of my siblings to a soccer game i was playing in that evening. i still remember very clearly the mix of anger, fear, and worry that was coursing through me, and in that moment i did the only thing i could think of: “God,” i said, “if you let my brother live, i’ll win this soccer game for You.” Kind of silly, right? Well that was the prayer i prayed—a different kind of “God grant us victory” prayer. i played angry that night. i played hard. and in the end, my team did indeed win. also, my brother did indeed survive and is still alive and well today (although he’s always had a rather weird sense of humor). so did God let my brother live just because i won? Did winning even matter? Would God still have saved my brother regardless? i’m sure He probably would have, but all i knew then as a ten-year-old boy, was that God heard my prayer and answered. What compelled me to think that a win was what was needed on my end of the bargain i have no idea,
but it seemed like the right thing to offer. Now, while i’ve always remained competitive in sports and still enjoy a good win, and at times get frustrated with a loss, but i’ve never really been able to look at winning, or praying about winning, quite the same since that event over 20 years ago. i haven’t run into any situation since then where life and death seemed to hang in the balance with winning and losing, and truthfully a prayer for the win hasn’t occurred much in my life since. it just never seemed to matter quite as much. i suppose if we’re really going to answer this question, we need to try and figure out if winning matters to God. it’s a tricky question. so how exactly do we go about figuring that out? Well, while there probably isn’t a definitive answer to that question, i think the Bible certainly provides us with some good insight on this. Now, it’s rather interesting that when you look for the word “win” in the Bible, most commonly it refers not to competition, but rather to people. “though i am free and belong to no man, i make myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible. to the Jews i became like a Jew, to win the Jews. to those under the law i became like one under the law (though i myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. to those not having the law i became like one not having the law (though i am not free from God’s law but am under christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law. to the weak i became weak, to win the weak. i have become all things to all men so that by all possible means i might save some” (1 Corinthians 9:19-22, NiV). so it would seem that God does indeed care about the “win.” But as is often the case with him, it’s a bit different from what we think of as the “win.” Now it’s often said that winners have a great platform for, er, winning, like paul talks about here, and that’s true; they do. But what about losers? surely they can still win people over with their conduct and testimony? in fact, they may even have a better opportunity to “win” people by losing because it takes a lot of character, poise, and integrity to conduct one’s self with dignity after a loss, to be a “good sport.” i often think of the difference between Bill Belichick, the coach of the New england patriots, and Kurt Warner, NFL quarterback, when it comes to this issue of being the “good” loser. after losing in the super Bowl to the New York Giants and blowing their chance at an undefeated season, Belichick
could barely mumble out any sort of coherent sentence during the post game interview. i get it—it was a tough loss. and it was a loss of more than just the super Bowl, but a place in history as only the second team ever to go undefeated. still, it’s just a game right? Losing hurts, i know, but being so petulant about it is kind of, well, lame. Kurt Warner, a professed christian, also lost a super Bowl. it was his last chance at the title. it was a tough game in which he brought his arizona cardinals from behind to take the lead late in the fourth quarter. Glory was within his grasp, but Ben roethlisberger of the pittsburgh steelers stole it with a phenomenal final drive and a spectacular catch by santonio Holmes to take the win with just 35 seconds left in the game. Warner, obviously upset over the loss, was pretty much the exact opposite of Belichick. He was still congenial, he even smiled, and gave a great interview after the game. Knowing that he was christian, i thought that was a great display. Losing sucks, but everything about Warner’s demeanor and attitude showed that while he didn’t like losing, he also knows there is more to life than the game, even a game called the super Bowl. i’ve even seen it myself; being a good loser on the basketball court has opened up many opportunities to explain why i am so “different.” so, win or lose, there are always opportunities to win people for christ, so what does winning matter? it’s often stated that when it comes to sports as a ministry of the church that it’s all about spreading the gospel. Well, if that’s truly the case, then win or lose, christians still win if they are sharing the gospel every opportunity they get—they are “winning souls.” so should winning even matter to a christian? Like any parent, i believe our heavenly Father takes pride and has joy when His kids do things well. i’m sure He likes it when we win, and i’m sure He sympathizes with our disappointment when we lose. However, i know for a fact that He’s a much better parent than Homer simpson will ever be, and therefore the winning and losing don’t matter quite as much to him as we do, as what our relationship with Him is, and as with how well we’re sharing the good news. there’s nothing wrong with winning, but especially as christians, we need to keep in mind what really matters, no matter what charlie sheen (“winning”) and the rest of our culture may say. ß
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(Maybe, just maybe God spared my life because He loves YOU and wants you to hear this. He wants you to believe that He loved you so much He gave His only begotten son that if you would believe in Him you would have eternal life.) “so, you still believe in a merciful God?” some of the comments online are genuinely inquisitive, others are contemptuous in nature. regardless of the motive behind the question, i will respond the same way. Yes. Yes, i do indeed. absolutely, positively, unequivocally. Let’s get something straight: the theater shooting was an evil, horrendous act done by a man controlled by evil. God did not take a gun and pull the trigger in a crowded theater. He didn’t even suggest it. a man did. in His sovereignty, God made man in His image with the ability to choose good and evil. Unfortunately, sometimes man chooses evil. I was there in theater 9 at midnight,
straining to make out the words and trying to figure out the story line as The Dark Knight Rises began. i’m not a big movie-goer. the HH and i prefer to watch movies in the comfort of our own home…where i can use subtitles and get a foot rub. i don’t like action movies. and i don’t like midnight showings. But, as i wrote in my last post, parents sometimes make sacrifices for their kiddos and i decided i would take my 14-year-old and 16-year-old daughters who were chomping at the bit to see this eagerly anticipated third movie in the Batman trilogy. twice i had the opportunity to back out and twice i was quite tempted. But something in me said just go with your girls. i did. so i was there with them, fidgeting in my seat, some 40 or 50 feet away from the man with the gun. it’s still a bit surreal, but i do know that when the seemingly endless shooting started, as my girls were struggling from whatever gas or chemical had been released, and we figured out what was happening, we hit the floor. i threw myself on top of my 14-year-old who was on the end of the row, straight up the aisle from
the shooter. in that moment, as the rapid-fire shots continued, i truly thought i was going to die. and i realized that i was ready. i have put my faith and trust in Jesus christ as the redeemer of my soul, and there wasn’t the slightest doubt that i would be received into heaven, not because of any good thing that i have done but because of His merciful nature and the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus christ. still, as i lay over my daughter, i began praying out loud. i don’t even remember what i prayed, but i don’t imagine it really matters. i’m sure it was for protection and peace. it drew me closer into the presence of God. When there was a pause in the shooting, people began to clamor for the exits. the girls and i jumped up and joined the masses. We had to step over a lifeless body, people were screaming and pushing, not knowing where the shooter was. We raced to our car and i dumped my purse, frantically searching for keys, looking all around, prepared to hit the ground. i yelled at Michelle to call Matthew and find out if he had made it out of the theater next door. she did. He did. We booked
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God iS a Merciful God?!
BY: MARIE (A blog post by a witness to the Colorado shootings)
So You Still think
on out of there. Why would you think such a tragedy would make me question the goodness of God? if anything, both of my girls said it made Him a much more real presence to them; the youngest shared this verse: “Do not be afraid of sudden fear nor of the onslaught of the wicked when it comes; for the Lord will be your confidence and will keep your feet from being caught“ (Proverbs 3:25-26). He is not the cause of evil, but He is the one who can bring comfort and peace in the midst of evil. it’s been amazing to see the outpouring of love from so many people after this unthinkable act. Yes, there was one evil act, but it is being covered by thousands, possibly millions of acts of kindness. We have not yet slept, so the girls and i are overtired and a bit emotional. But overall, we are praising God and resting in His Goodness. i love this word of wisdom and encouragement from a former pastor of mine: Up to this point i haven’t had words to say that would matter. Of course we are
all glad that you and the family are safe. Of course we would all state the obvious that this is horrific and senseless. But those words still don’t carry weight that remain in the midst of the questions. then it hit me… Do you know what the difference was between Job and his wife in their response to the tragedy of losing everything… Job 1:20 Job was the only one that worshiped in the midst of it. Marie, i know your heart and i’ve seen your worship lived out before your family. Before the weight of this becomes unbearable… worship. Your profile pic was not coincidence, not by accident that you changed it on July 15th, but a beautiful foreshadowing of your need to hear the cry of your heart and give Him praise. though we don’t have all the answers, we do indeed listen to the cry of our hearts: When i am afraid, i will put my trust in You. in God, whose word i praise, in God i have put my trust; i shall not be afraid. What can mere man do to me?(Psalm 56:3-4). God is always good. Man is not. Don’t get the two confused.
We will continue to praise and worship our mighty God, anticipating that He will bring beauty from ashes, as only He can do. if you want to know how to pray for us: first and foremost, we need sleep. somehow our bodies seem too wired. We also want the life that God has graciously allowed us to continue to live to not be a gift given in vain, we want our lives to draw others closer to Him. We do not want fear to dominate, for God has not given us a spirit of fear. We want His joy to be seen and experienced in all that we do. pray for the families who lost loved ones, and for young people who witnessed such horror. pray for this to be an opportunity for God to manifest Himself in mighty ways. as for you…we will pray that YOU might know His goodness. ß
Originally posted at aminiatureclaypot.wordpress.com on July 20, 2012
:: IMAGE SOURCE
Used by permission.
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Running With Endurance
BY: SKIP HEITZIG Just recently, the 2012 summer Olympic Games were held in London. people the world over love the Olympics. athletes train their bodies for years in order to compete. they punish themselves physically and deprive themselves of comfort, to be the best they can be. and the sports fans are just as fanatical; they come from everywhere across the globe to watch these athletes “go for the gold.” i think the writers of the New testament were sports fans, too. they were probably familiar with the ancient Olympic Games— which were still going on in the first century—because they often used the example of running a race to describe the christian life. the apostle paul in particular was fond of that comparison. He used it as he spoke (see Acts 20:24), and several times in the letters he wrote to the early believers (see 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, 2 Timothy 2:5, 4:7). the writer of Hebrews gives an especially interesting example of the racing metaphor: “Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us” (Hebrews 12:1). as you can see here, sin is portrayed as a weight that drags you down. imagine trying to run in a race with barbells chained to your ankles. the picture is really funny. You certainly wouldn’t win the race. You probably wouldn’t even finish! also notice that we as christians are to run with endurance. the christian life isn’t a 50-yard dash; it’s more like a marathon. it takes great stamina. i remember the guys in my gym class in high school who were sprinters or short-distance runners. When we had to run five miles in class, they weren’t able to finish unless they paced themselves. and sin “easily” ensnares us. We have a difficult time if we try to live as christians while holding onto sin. How do we handle sin? the Bible says to run from it. it tells us to flee from idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:14), from sexual immorality (1 corinthians 6:18), from greed (1 Timothy 6:11), etc. Instead of being caught up in sin, we should concentrate on our goal. “Forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, i press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in christ Jesus” (philippians 3:13-14). God promises His help in overcoming sin: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it” (1 Corinthians 10:13). at one Olympic opening ceremony, the international Olympic committee president reminded the athletes that they are role models for the world’s youth and urged them to “reject” cheating. in the same way, we as christians should be roles models by rejecting sin. We should lay it aside and keep on running the race. remember, the christian life is a marathon. Finish the race well. ß
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E T A D l U So
ESS BY: J E LUS KO
r U o Y
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i would consider myself somewhat of a patron of technology (Siri wrote 70% of this article). i would also consider myself to be bit of a procrastinator (i am finishing the other 30% the week of the deadline). and when these qualities intersect, the outcome can make for quite the predicament. the good people of apple computers, being the ever-advancing pioneers that they are, consistently release new features for all of their products. Just about every time you fire up your Macbook or launch itunes there is the ever vigilant software Update window that is set before your eyes. if you are anything like me, your impatience bests your curiosity nine times out of ten and you close that window with the same ferocity and annoyance that you deleted path from your iphone. against my better judgment, i became entrenched in a bit of a habit of this. Well it turns out that in the tech world, just like at the MVD, there are consequences for procrastinating. there was one instance of a more devoted Mac user ridiculing me for running itunes 10.1. Worse still was the realization that occurred while trying to update to Os X 10.7, Lion. something about it sounded appealing and i had heard about the approaching release of 10.8 Mountain Lion. i had no luck and talked to that same devoted Mac user. He was very amused to see i was still running 10.5 Leopard and let me know this made the update impossible at home. (What will they do when they run out of exotic cats? OsX Bobcat? OsX siamese?) rather than it being a simple download in the app store, a completely unfamiliar concept to my Macbook, i was going to have to drive across town to the apple store and install a hard copy. similarly, through procrastination a minor medical issue can become a life threatening illness. What could have been dealt with by a simple doctor’s prescription later requires a major surgical procedure. even one day slacking in an exercise regimen can leave you miles behind the rest of your athletic team or exercise class. if that happens to be a spin class, your spandex-sporting drill sergeant will be all too happy to notify you of this. the writer of Hebrews warns us: that exact process can happen spiritually. in He-
brews 3:7 he exhorts, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts,” and again “Beware, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called ‘today,’ that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin” (vv.12-13). it is so easy to slip into spiritual cruise control, to slowly, over time, ease into complete lethargy, putting off those crucial steps toward maturity of confessing a sin regularly or doing your devotions or reconciling with those who wrong you. and the longer you wait, the more difficult growth becomes. Until one day, your heart is jaded and hardened to the extent that a simple exercise of reading the Bible or opening your mouth to talk about Jesus seems impossible. soon you find yourself in some horrendous place of sin, confusion, or outright unbelief. What could have been avoided through a simple software update for your soul now needs a total system overhaul requiring a tragedy or a major recommitment at an event or a retreat. and even then, without regular updates, faith again grows stale and obsolete. Gospel invitations and appeals are made with urgency; we need to apply the same urgency to every day of our christians lives. Jesus said “He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad” (Matthew 12:30). this rebuke is just as much to christian laggards as it is to passive unbelievers. if you are not progressing, you are regressing. if you’re not advancing the kingdom, you are an obstacle to it. the New testament is filled with ongoing present tense commands: “Walk in the light,” “abide in My word,” “pray without ceasing,” “Be ever filled with the spirit,” “continue to believe.” Jesus wants a dynamic, vivacious, exhilarating life for you— ever new, always fresh, advancing His glory in the world. this can’t happen without ongoing dependence. Yesterday’s manna won’t cut it, faith is now or nothing. salvation can’t be lost but it can be wasted. tomorrow is promised to no man. today is the day. it’s time for an update. ß
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æ the gOOD neWS
By Yo Snyder “For the son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done” (Matthew 16:27). In NCAA Football 13 there’s a new mode called the Heisman trophy challenge. in it, you get to relive the Heisman season of a past trophy winner, like Barry sanders or tim tebow, to see if you can duplicate in the video game what they did in real life in their pursuit of the Heisman trophy. playing for the prize isn’t anything new in sports, but some are surprised to hear that it’s also a part of the christian life. it’s not something that’s discussed all that much, as grace and salvation are often the emphasis, and rightly so. We can never perform well enough to earn our way into heaven—only the death and resurrection of Jesus christ can do that for us. However, once we’ve secured that future eternity, there are trophies to be attained. God has promised rewards and crowns for those who faithfully serve, and paul even exhorted his followers to press towards the prize, using a lot of sports lingo to explain how we can do that in life. it’s not really a competition. Jesus has won us the victory, but there is incentive for us to live our lives well for Him, to do the things we know we ought, and to do them well. When we work to excel in the life christ has called us to, he promises to make it worth our while. ß
æ StatIC StRiP
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03. 1St WORDS
10. the JOcKS
DO YOUR DEVOS
BRAVE IN THEIR ATTEMPT: SPECIAL OLYMPICS
COME AT ME BRO
FROM OUR READERS HOW FAR IS TOO FAR?
14. the heaRt 15. lOcalS Rule
THE UNDERDOG PROJECT 86 EVERYTHING’S BETTER HOMEMADE
16. cultuRe ShOcK
28. unDeRgROunD 30. bOOK RePORt
31. the guiDe 33. the tOWn
“CHRISTIAN” MUSIC DIVING IN THE DESERT
SUPERMAN VS. THE ELITE
35. SOunD checK 36. the eDge
SHOULD WINNING MATTER? SO YOU STILL THINK GOD IS A MERCIFUL GOD?! UPDATE YOUR SOUL
42. the thOught 44. the gOOD neWS
CHASING AFTER TROPHIES
RUNNING WITH ENDURANCE
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