ANGELIC AU G U S T 201 5
NASHV ANGELIC MAGAZINE I
OUR BASE ON THE NASHVILLE
TO THE SOUTH WITH A NIGHT OF YOU'RE INVITED
VILLE S RELOCATING FROM
E WEST COAST TO SEPTEMBER
WE ARE CELEBRATING OUR MOVE
F MUSIC AND WORSHIP FOR JESUS TUNED FOR THE DETAILS
CONTENT 22 32 33 36 49 52 54 55 58 72 74 82 92
MUSIC: ABBI MILES JESUS: THE TIGHTROPE OF FAITH JESUS: COURAGE, DEAR HEART. FASHION: STEPHANIE PONCE MUSIC: KAT KRICK JESUS: SARA HODGSON JESUS: WHEN OUR KING SAID MOVE JESUS: CHOOSE JOY MUSIC: JACOB HUNT JESUS: HARVEST RECAP FASHION: LEAH HOPE FASHION: MICHELA BROOKE FASHION: KAMILLE DORR
JESUS. MUSIC. FASHION.
NGELIC AUGUST 2첫15 www.ANGELICMAG.com
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t the end of the day what really matters is, how much did we seek Jesus? In our selfrighteousness we assume ourselves to be perfect, we're so easily ready to gloss over and overlook what God wants from us, but in reality, the only thing that separtes a man from another is his willingness to surrender to Jesus each day. Surrender is to seek. Seek is to find. At the end of my day, how much did I seek Jesus today? Angelic Magazine is closing the end of our second year as a magazine with this issue and as I look back at that very first issue till now, the only thing that kept myself going through the rigors of these last two years is Jesus. But even though I've sought Him, I need to seek Him more. I need to surrender to Him more. I need to find Him more. Because I'm not content with the status-quo. I'm not easily motivated by the same ol'. I want to step further out in faith. I want to dream dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. I need Jesus that much more. I need His faith. His guidance. His grace. His strength. His Spirit. I need to surrender more. What about you, how much have you sought Jesus today? Are you ready to surrender to His plan? Even if it means that the dream of dreams that no mortal ever dared to dream before may not be in His plan for you to fulfill? We're walking on shaky territory. The dream life that we picture ourselves to live, what if that dream isn't His dream for us? Are we ready to surrender our dreams to Him? I am. Because I know that the dreams I want to dance with, His are much better.
ABBI MILES SINGER - SCOTTSDALE, AZ
B Y ABBI MILES was never serious about Jesus when I was young. I knew who He was, and I believed in Him, but I didn’t understand what that meant in my life. I grew up living a charmed life; I had extremely loving parents and two sisters and a brother who I got along with famously. I was naturally talented in both dance and singing, and I had dreams of making a career out of my talents. During my freshman year of high school, my brother decided to truly follow Jesus. He tried to introduce me to the new life he was experiencing, but, me being the head strong and stubborn teenager I was, I would run further and further away from the life he tried to introduce to me. I was a senior in high school when I became a Christian. I was in the midst of a relationship with my “first love” who did not share the same Christian values that I did; however, I did not see an issue with this. I did everything a new Christian was “supposed” to do. I was ridiculously on fire for God, and I let everyone know how different I was compared to my old self—or so I thought. My young Christian self was a prude, she was quick to judge, and she was the complete opposite from the “good girl by day, party girl by night” complex I had. It was now June of 2011, and I had just graduated high school. I was still dating the same boyfriend, believing in false truths, and justifying my actions. I had been trying to control everything around me, but I felt a storm coming. I had uneasiness in my stomach that no amount of prayer could shake, and it was definitely the Holy Spirit urging me to open my eyes to the lies I was living. I woke up one morning to a message from a stranger on Facebook telling me there was something I needed to see. It was a link to a popular website that was full of every intimate photo I had shared with my boyfriend. My stomach sank, I started crying, and then the phone calls started flooding in. It was public
"IT WAS PUBLIC HUMILIATION IN ITS PURIST FORM. I WAS SELF-CONSCIOUS, I FELT LIKE I COULDN’T LEAVE MY HOUSE WITHOUT BEING STARED AT"
humiliation in its purist form. I was self-conscious, I felt like I couldn’t leave my house without being stared at, I lost a majority of my friends, and, the worst part was, I had no idea who had done this to me. People told me my life had been ruined, that I did this to myself. Every ounce of drive I had to become a singer or successful at anything started fading away and I didn’t want my name to be known. The identity of being the girl on the website had consumed my life. After several weeks, the eye of the storm had passed, and it was time for me to move away for college with the chance to start over. I made a new group of friends, I was single, and I went back to my party girl life. Thankfully, my brother swooped in and introduced me to a church. I started attending, got plugged into a community, and slowly started letting Jesus in again. It felt amazing discovering He had never really left. My friend network started growing, and I was feeling on top of the world—until people started finding my pictures and the memories returned. But, this time was different. I realized I was far more scarred from the experience than I had even known, but I now knew I had Jesus to lean on. He led me to reach out to people for love and support, and He introduced me to my mentor. She and I started meeting and I started healing. We studied the Bible together, and my passion for singing started translating into me connecting with Jesus on a new level. I understood where my identity was as a child of God and why I had been through what I had been through. It allowed me to see people through eyes of grace and to comfort others who have experienced similar brokenness. I now had strength to show others love and truth.
model: abbi miles h a i r: s h e y n n a f r a z i e r d r e s s: b o h e m i a n v i b e b o u t i q u e location: sedona, az
THE TIGHTROPE OF FAITH
"WE MUST CAREFULLY EXAMINE OUR HEARTS TO SEE IF WE TRUST HIM ENOUGH TO STEP INTO THE UNKNOWN WITH HIS WORDS OF DIRECTION. FAITHFUL OBEDIENCE IS THE TIGHT ROPE BETWEEN HUMANITY AND ETERNITY. " B Y KELSEY ACH hen The Lord gives a directive, we have two experience of the Spirit. Like when He asked me to quit my job and Be available choices: We can join Him in the journey or bow out of the experience. Each opportunity the Father extends is a and lead something called “Harvest” and it’s to be a revival simple invitation offering a deeper experience of who He for the millennial generation? That couldn’t be me, I wanted to retort like Moses did. I wanted to push back on is. Our obedience is a catalyst for intimacy with our King. the opportunity because it had to be for someone else. But If we obey, then we experience deeper. our God never stops to ask for an opinion, He just opens It is always our choice to know Him on a deeper level. I’ve been wary of the whole stepping out in faith thing. I the opportunity for deeper relationship and asks that we marveled at those in the Bible that took our Father up on join Him—even in the face of fear, frustration, impatience, His offer for radical obedience, but I never considered and anger. Our emotions do not stop the calling of God. We myself that kind of saint. I was just a “normal” woman in press on and obey because of Who He is, not because of the 21st century—vapid of spiritual growth, arm’s length how we feel. So, standing in a field in the middle of July while over from Heavenly freedom, and a stagnant daughter. I left the boldness of the Spirit to those that walked dusty roads 500 people worshipped at a revival called “Harvest” about thousands of years ago. I left the powerful movement of undid me. And it was like walking through honey as we felt the Holy God to apostles and disciples. I never considered His Spirit thick in the open air—like a joining-of-forces type of thing. Like a joining of an army kind of feel. Like that He meant His movement to be in my life, as well. I never considered that I was meant to be a vessel for the coming home of souls long-gone stagnant and dry. Because of the going deeper that He offered and the healing, personal growth with Jesus, prophecy, and revival.
Until I saw a world desperate for His movement and heard His call that asked me to go deeper.
A few months ago, the Lord asked me to step out in radical faith—a Good Book kind of step; an earthshattering step; a personal, life-changing step. I knew that if I acted in obedience, my life would shift in a sort of way that would never leave me the same—and that scared me. But I also knew that when I obeyed, I would come to know Jesus in a deeper way than ever before. Often times, the opportunity to obey our Father is more about our trust in Him than our belief in ourselves. We must carefully examine our hearts to see if we trust Him enough to step into the unknown with His words of direction. Faithful obedience is the tight rope between humanity and eternity. His requests of obedience will never return void. He asks to only reveal Himself in increasing measure: to the obedient one and to those who reap the benefit of that obedience. It’s really like a “thousand(s) for one” deal—our obedience allows those around us a monumental
obedience that followed through.
And we physically can’t contain the totality of His power, so, only with His guidance and deeper experience of Him do we gingerly touch the realm of all He is. And, like littlekid fingers reaching out, we are only brushing the surface of what Jesus has in store. We are only at the edge of His greatness, His majesty, His beauty, His grace. Only at the edge.
So the stepping out is hard and it’s tough and it’s a stretching kind of thing that will leave us with marks. Stretch marks of faith—evidence that our walk with God has been anything but easy. Marks that whisper stories of frustrated tears as He patiently waits for our obedience. Marks that comfort as we remember the lonely years and preparation years and quiet years. Marks that excite with the calling and the question of faith that changes it all. Marks of the day He opened opportunities of obedience and a blind—but faithful—yes walked the tight rope of faith towards eternity.
COURAGE, DEAR HEART. "RUN TO JESUS WITH ALL YOUR WORRIES, ALL YOUR DOUBTS, FEARS, AND ALL YOUR INSECURITIES. "
B Y MALLORY JOHNSON ou may think your situation is permanent. And why not? You’ve been here a long time. You don’t see how you could ever rise higher. All the facts are telling you it’s impossible. That hollow feeling deep down in your heart starts to wear on you and your soul starts gasping for air in an attempt to catch a wisp of comfort… well, I am here to tell you, you are not just somebody; you are chosen. Where you are is not permanent. God has explosive blessings coming your way. He has brought you here to this very moment in your life for a reason. And all these moments you’re experiencing right now? They will work together for the good, I promise. We must be expectant and waiting for the Lord’s goodness. We must be diligent, obedient, and expecting. Ask yourself, Am I ready? Dear Heart, Please get ready, because when He, The Lord, deems it is the right time, His plan for you will fall into place so perfectly you’ll wonder why you ever doubted in the first place. What an amazing feeling it is to know that the best days of your life haven’t even happened yet—just thinking about this truth has my soul in awe of His love. God has more in store for you than you or I could ever imagine. “He performs wonders, that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.” Job 5:9 It is time to give up the darkness, the pain, the doubts, the worries, the insecurities, the brokenness—Give it to Jesus. Do not sit in the dark, trying to adjust your eyes to the darkness; instead, go to the Lord and ask Him to turn on the light. It is only after quieting our mind and acknowledging the emptiness in our heart that we realize only God can help us rise above, and He is the only one to make us feel whole again. It is so important to stand vulnerable before God and ask Him to meet us where we are, no matter what state we are in, and no matter what we feel we may be missing.
Our God does not mind bending low just to reach His children at their lowest. He does not mind giving up His beauty for the unworthy. He does not mind leaving His majestic throne to walk the mud-filled and dusty roads of the earth just to be with us. He does not even mind death, just to give His children everlasting life. He is more than just a King. He is more than just a Maker. He is a loving, generous, and caring Father. A Father who forgives quickly and does not keep a record of His children’s sins. He is, in fact, a prodigal-seeking Father. He is waiting, and, oh, how patiently He waits for His child to come back home. Must you not forget that you are never a burden to Him. You are His heartbeat and greatest joy. Run to Jesus with all your worries, all your doubts, all your fears, and all your insecurities. Give it to Jesus. So if you’re reading this, if there is still hopefulness in your heart, I want you to remember your story is still going. Heavy or light, beautiful or difficult, hopeful or uncertain, there is still time for things to heal, change, and grow. There is still time for surprises. We are all stories still being written. You wouldn’t be breathing right now if there wasn’t a purpose behind everything that is happening in your life. I challenge you to allow yourself to be led by God’s beautiful truth. Allow yourself to be so obedient to Him that you are willing to trust what He has in store. Trust that HE will provide a way for your future; HE will place the right people in your path; HE will give you the words to say; and HE will give you the strength to wait. Trust that when the answer is No, there is a better Yes down the road. I promise it will all make sense someday. In the end we will all lock eyes and whisper, only God. What grace that moment will be, standing in our dreams and praising our God.
"I WAS ALWAYS DEPENDING ON MYSELF TO DO IT AND NEVER GAVE IT TO THE LORD OR TRUSTED IN HIM."
rowing up, I always had a knack for business and a desire to do something big. When I was in elementary school, I would make beaded lizard key chains and sell them to my classmates. I had a whole inventory of those silly things. I was always dreaming of going to Africa when I grew up to build houses or become a famous wedding gown designer, but then, I got my first camera. I was eight years old, and it was a cheap little film camera my grandpa had bought me. I took that thing everywhere and took pictures of everything. Once that camera was in my hands, my new dream was to be a photographer for National Geographic and travel the world—obviously, that didn’t happen. I got my first DSLR right after high school and took some photography classes at the local community college, but it just wasn’t enough for me. I wanted to learn all I could about photography. I ended up attending California Baptist University because I fell head over heals for the photography program and their lead instructor, Trever Hoehne’s, work. I really felt like the Lord’s calling on my life was to be a wedding photographer. I was so unsure of myself, my work, and the talent the Lord gave me that I decided I would do graphic design instead and do some fashion photography on the side. I interned at a big graphic design firm in Orange County, but I absolutely hated it. I had the hardest time coming up with original ideas and started thinking that being in the art world wasn’t for me. So, after college, I decided to stay in my little Christian bubble and get an office job at CBU. It was my safe place, and I figured I could have a happy life working there until I retired—but it just never felt right. I was never satisfied with what I was doing and could never focus on work. I felt the Lord had me there for a reason, though. During that season in my life working at CBU, the unsettled feelings I had brought back my desire and love to take photos. I had so much encouragement from my coworkers to go and chase my dreams, but I was still too afraid. I finally mustered up the courage to ask a friend if I could photograph her wedding, and it reignited that
desire to pursue wedding photography. Finally, in March 2015, the Lord opened the doors to fulfill my dreams of doing wedding photography fulltime and to quit my job at CBU. Starting out was slowgoing, though. I thought brides would be knocking down my doors to book me, but that didn’t quite happen. For months, I was discouraged because I had only booked three weddings, and they were all friends. I didn’t understand why brides weren’t contacting me. The Lord took me through a waiting period and taught me how to trust Him with my dreams. Since I first wanted to do wedding photography in college, I was always depending on myself to do it and never gave it to the Lord or trusted in Him. In June, I got over my stubbornness and gave my whole business up to Him. Until that time, I was doubting my decision to quit CBU and start my business and just felt like the Lord abandoned me. Once I gave my plans up to the Lord, my business has done a 180, and it’s been amazing. I have had so many opportunities come my way and have been able to build relationships with some great people! The Lord has completely blessed me and has thrown every doubt I had about myself and His plan out the window. A verse that has rung true in my life is 2 Peter 3:9a, “The Lord is not slow to fulfill His promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you.” There have been so many times in my life and career that I felt the Lord wasn’t keeping his promises and forgot about me, but, looking back, I realize those were times where he was allowing me to grow and to learn to trust Him. If my business had taken off right away, I never would have had to trust that He would pull through, and He wouldn’t have been glorified. If there is anything to take away from my testimony, it’s that, sometimes, the Lord has bigger plans that we can’t see, so, when it seems like He’s forgotten you or that He keeps saying no to something you want, it’s because He has far greater and bigger things in mind for you.
SANDRA MICHELLE ARTISTRY
DESPERATELY SEEKING SUEANN
PAPER MINT PRESS
THE DUO STUDIO
THE MRS BOX
PHOTOGRAPHY BY STEPHANIE PONC
Kat Krick EDM SINGER
KAT KRICK LOS ANGELES
S I N G E R "I WANT TO REACH NONBELIEVERS WITH EDM
grew up in a Christian home, never missing a Sunday at my Presbyterian Church nestled in the tiny town of Andes, NY. My parents have an unwavering faith and beautifully showed God’s love to me. I always loved God and never remember questioning if He existed or not, but I didn’t quite grasp what having a relationship with Him meant. I watched the passion that others had for Him and knew something was missing in my faith. I would feel the undeniable presence of His spirit at high school Christian conferences and retreats, but I would lose the fire for Him when I returned home, wondering how to access Him on a daily basis like others seemed to be doing. I went to college and sang in my worship band, continued to show up to church and Bible studies, but I still knew something was missing. I knew I wasn’t 100% all in for Him, and I struggled with having the desire to seek Him. I never made reading the Bible a priority, and talking with friends seemed so much more exciting than talking with God. I was just waiting for God to do all the work in our relationship. I wanted Him to guide me, fuel a fire in me, speak to me, without meeting Him halfway. I thought showing up to church and doing mostly “all the right things” was enough. When I was a sophomore in college, I read a book that changed my life, titled “When God Winks at You,” by Squire Rushnell. This book is filled with stories of what some may call crazy coincidences but is truly undeniably God communicating to us. I started seeing my whole life differently, realizing that all of those “coincidences” that happened in my life were really God communicating with me, whether it was guiding me to move across the country or a simple gesture of love just to let me know that He’s there and He loves me. One year later, I circumnavigated the world, traveling to thirteen different countries on a program called Semester at Sea. Prior to this trip, I was addicted to people, always prioritizing them over God. When having
MUSIC, WRITING AND SINGING SONGS THAT DESCRIBE THE REALNESS OF MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD, AND SHINING HIS LIGHT INTO A SOMETIMES DARK MUSIC CULTURE. "
trouble making close friends in the beginning of the trip, I went to the deck by myself one night, looked out at the ocean, and heard God communicate to me that it was time for me to find joy in Him, not in exclusively the blessings He’s given me. In those next four months traveling the world, I experienced Him like never before, through “Godwinks,” His creation, and through people all over the world. One year later, God called me to move to Los Angeles. He led me to a church called MOSAIC. Within my first week there, I heard God calling me to maturity. I started seeking Him in all that I do and felt my heart transform. Now, I desire to talk to God all the time, read the Bible, serve regularly, and I desire my every action to be an expression of my love for Him. As God transformed my heart, I started to find my purpose. I’ve always felt called to communicate God to nonbelievers in a way that is different yet understandable. I’ve felt called to be “real” and creative in communicating God to nonbelievers. I want to reach nonbelievers with EDM music, writing and singing songs that describe the realness of my relationship with God, and shining His light into a sometimes dark music culture. I want to also give Christians music that they can use to praise God through dance, workouts, or just high-energy, God-praising EDM music! I feel called to empower and encourage people to live fearlessly and trust in Him. 1 John 4:18 has been such an important verse to me: “There is no fear in love.” The more fearless I become and the more I take a leap of faith and follow God, the more my dreams align with His. God has led me on this new path, going from writing my very first song with His help, releasing my first single, filming a music video, and now planning my EP and touring the country. It has been all Him, undeniably. There is nothing I love more than adventuring with God and taking leap after leap of faith. I cannot wait to see what is next.
sara hodgson: lexington, ky "I WOULD GET “BUSY” AND PUT JESUS ON THE BACK BURNER. I THOUGHT I COULD TAKE CARE OF THINGS MYSELF. I WOULD LET HIM KNOW IF I NEEDED HIM. "
G rowing up in Central Kentucky, I can honestly say I’ve lived a very comfortable and somewhat easy
life. My life is far from perfect, but I haven’t experienced a tragedy or specific life-changing moment that turned my life around. I’ve never had to hit rock bottom to feel grace. As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve been a lukewarm Christian for most of my life. I’ve been sitting on the sidelines, rather than joining the greatest adventure of all time. I was raised in the Church by the most loving and Christ-centered parents God could’ve blessed me with. I accepted Jesus at a young age, and have always considered myself a Christian. But did I even know what that really meant? Seasons would come and go through life—full of spiritual highs and closeness with Jesus, but then seasons would come where I would get “busy” and put Jesus on the back burner. I thought I could take care of things myself. I would let Him know if I needed Him. You see, I was on the team, but not always ready to go in to the game. I’ve never been one to want to stand out. I don’t like to be the center of attention. I am a rule follower and desire human approval. I’ve done enough to look like a Christian on paper but haven’t lived it out. I realize now I was just going through the motions. I would consider myself a “benchwarmer.” Wow, had I been missing out. It wasn’t until my adult life that I realized being a Christian is so much more than a label or being a good person. It is the most intimate and real relationship we could ever experience. Jesus wants to be a part of every decision and detail in my day. His love for me is greater than I can even fathom. I learned that He is more than a distant figure or harsh judge. He is my Creator, Dad, and Best Friend. One of the ways God revealed Himself to me was through people. God put special people in my path to point me towards Him. Like Addie, my roommate in college. Addie is a woman of faith. She has a light for
Jesus and lives it out every day. In college, she stood out by the way she loved and related to people. And, recently, God blessed me with another new community of friends that point me to Jesus. These are real people who struggle just like me, but we can walk together in our journey. We can openly talk about how Jesus is working through us, encourage one another, and serve together. Jesus shines through these people. God again opened my eyes when I started serving in my church. I began to realize when my heart is focused on loving and giving to others, I am filled with gratitude and joy. Several years ago, I had the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Haiti. The pearly white smiles from ear to ear on those dark and dirty faces is a picture engrained in my memory. The people of Haiti materially had so little, yet had the biggest hearts I’ve ever seen. I would watch children delightedly share one small, shriveled piece of fruit with a grateful heart. I often ask myself, “What is my purpose on this Earth?” When I die, I will take nothing out of this world. I won’t get to take the money I’ve been saving or my dream car. People are what matter most, and God calls us to love and serve His children. My purpose in life is to point people to Jesus. Though I may not have realized all of this the first day I became a Christian, it is okay. God is patient, full of grace, and constantly wanting to teach us. I have learned that when we take our eyes off of ourselves, we can see Jesus in a new light. I used to be so caught up in the ways of the world that never completely fulfilled me. But, thank God, I have found a better way! Worldly desires tell us we want more and can never have enough. This life is not my own, so may I shine for my Creator. May I not just say I am a Christian, but live it out by serving and loving people!
WHEN OUR KING SAID MOVE WE HAVE TO GO SPEAK LOVE WHERE HATE IS THE LANGUAGE.
B Y CLARE TUCKER
e emerged out of the world. We moved hand in hand towards that Cross. We arose, bold, matured, and full of God. We, the army, pressed in and said collectively, "Here we are! Send us" reciting Isaiah 6:8 to the Heavens. The words resonated beautifully with God and the Angels and we could feel their proud smiles closer than ever before as we pressed in. When our King said, "Move," we started marching without hesitation. And so did He. The ones who came lost, left found. The ones who came found, left even stronger. If our King says move and we obey, He will meet us on the battleground and do the hard work. Our burden is light in the name of Jesus. We came together to praise Him out in a random field in Kentucky, USA, and He was right there with us. We are no warmers of the bench, we are warmers of the torch of Heaven. We can't afford to just praise Him in a church anymore. We will now go praise Him in a random field or on the streets or in a club because maybe the addicts, prostitutes, alcoholics, homeless, orphans, broken and abused, the other man's trash—maybe the random fields and streets of this world are where they will meet Jesus and become our brothers and sisters. His church is not some building protected by walls and adorned with beautiful, cushioned pews and stained glass windows. No. We are it. And we are tearing down those walls. We don't want a worldly safety because we have a Kingdom calling. The movers. The shakers. The ground breakers. The way makers. This Earth is crumbling around us and our cities are going down in flames. But we don’t mourn the bodies, we desperately mourn the souls. Were they saved? Did they know about Jesus? What if it was up to us to show them? Where were we?
So, we are urgently reminded to go when He says, “Move,” and no amount of turmoil and destruction in the spaces to which He leads us can arouse in us fear. “No weapon formed against you will succeed, and you will refute any accusation raised against you in court. This is the heritage of the Lord’s servants, and their righteousness is from Me. This is the Lord’s declaration.” Isaiah 54:17 Joined together in His name with big expectations and no hesitation outside in a field miles away from any church building, we saw Heaven. And while it is sweet, the vision of our missing brothers and sisters was heart-shattering. We are citizens of Heaven, here on loan from our Creator. And we have work to do. We have to move. And we have to love in motion. And go where called, where we aren’t welcome. We have to go speak love where hate is the language. We were born different and we’ve always known. We are fiery, unafraid and unashamed. We don't look to our left or to our right, we look up. Our pasts being merely boot camp for God’s great army, His promises came true when we let Him have His way. When we invited him into our hearts, He refreshed what was already in us and put it to use for His good. And, now, we stand before Him ready. We are free spirits. We don't fit inside the lines. Being outsiders is what ignites our fire, and our purpose has never been clearer. Boldness is the standard. We freely throw up our hands to the Heavens. We humbly drop to our knees at the whisper of His Spirit. He fills us up and we drown in His grace. We can't contain how good He is to us, and we want everyone to taste and see. Until the end of days, we will be like You, Jesus. We don't know how to be anything else. We were made for this.
CHOOSE JOY WE CAN CHOOSE TO BLOCK OUR BLESSINGS OR WE CAN CHOOSE JOY.
B Y MAEGAN DOCKERY
s it hard for you to hear God speak to you? Do you sometimes wonder if He’s ever actually spoken to you at all? I feel that way sometimes. I feel like maybe I’m not a good enough Christian to actually have Him say anything to me. I’m that acquaintance He passes on the street that only gets a wave even if I say hello. I love God and I know, deep down, that He has definitely spoken some good, good words to me. He is constantly speaking to me, encouraging me, and letting me know how much He loves me. Do you know what the problem is? I’m not listening. When He speaks, I can’t hear Him because I let the world be so much louder. I listen to society and the people around me and, saddest of all, Satan. With all that going on, I let God get drowned out. Satan is loud. Satan will interrupt you with a negative thought about yourself. Satan will take a good day and shout it into a terrible one. Why do I give him that power? I was talking to someone at a work event a few weeks ago, and he was saying how sad it is when he sees people block their own blessings. It really hit home for me because I do that to myself far too often. Do you ever just get so caught up in what the people around you think? I know I do. I worry that they’ll think I look stupid or too fat or not pretty enough. I get so consumed in what other people might or might not be thinking about me that I completely block my blessings. It’s really, really sad. I let Satan’s noise drown out God’s grace, and it has to stop. Life can be tough sometimes. We’re going to have rough days, days that we’d like to do over. We’re going to hear negative comments about ourselves or face judgment. That’s just the way life is. But we have options. We can choose to block our blessings or we can choose joy. If you block your blessings, you can listen to those harsh words and take them to heart. You can feel bad about yourself and wish you were someone else. You can let Satan be the loudest voice in the room. Or you can choose joy. You can have hurt feelings but know that God loves you so much. You can take heart in the fact that, no matter what other people may say or think, you are a child of the King. You can listen to His beautiful voice speak words of comfort over you. No one is perfect. We will all block our blessings at some point. We will all let Satan interrupt God and hurt us. But it’s never too late to turn Satan’s volume down. It’s never too late to be still and listen for God’s voice in the darkness. It’s never too late to choose joy.
JACOB HUNT DRUMMER
PHOTOS BY NEAL CLEMENT
"THROUGHOUT MY WALK WITH THE L ORD, I HAVE FOUND HE OFTEN SPEAKS TO THROUGH SONG LYRICS, GIVING ME SPECIFIC WORDS TO CLING TO WHEN THE WORLD THROWS CURVE BALLS AND SATAN ATTACKS MY SPIRIT. "
“ realize just how beautiful You are and how great Your affections are for me.” - John Mark McMillan Growing up in West Virginia, my parents always made sure we attended church on Sundays. Though I was taught the importance of church, I never really grasped the concept of a relationship with Jesus until much later. I accepted Jesus because it was the “right thing to do,” but it didn’t move into an intimate relationship with Him until I experienced true healing. Starting at a very young age, I had a strong addiction to pornography. I was introduced to it by a friend and the height of this struggle was during middle and early high school. Not even realizing the wall it was creating between God and myself, the addiction kept me from an intimacy with God out of shame and guilt. Pornography damages a person emotionally and mentally and creates such spiritual darkness in your life. I finally experienced His healing and light. It was at summer camp in 2010 where I accepted my first taste of true freedom from my sin. One of the nights at camp, they had a time for healing prayer. By this time, I knew I had to stop my addiction. I knew I wanted something different for my life. The band started to play “How He Loves” by John Mark McMillan. I cried out to God, “Lord, forgive me for the sin I have lived in for so long, I need Your forgiveness and healing!” It was the first time I truly felt God’s love and true conviction. Since that time, I know whatever I may be struggling with, God is strong in my weakness and offers healing and true forgiveness. Throughout my walk with the Lord, I have found He often speaks to through song lyrics, giving me specific words to cling to when the world throws curve balls and Satan attacks my spirit. He gives me words of encouragement to step into the next season
of life and helps me hear His voice. When my parents divorced and I transferred schools, I started using marijuana for a brief season. It was then that God spoke this over me, calling me back to him: “I am your anchor, in the wind and the waves. I am your steadfast, so don’t be afraid. Though your heart and flesh may fail you, I’m your faithful strength. I am with you, wherever you go.” - Bethel Music, Jenn Johnson When God began stirring in me a deeper love for the church and pursuing my gifts in worship, he gave me this song to perfectly describe my heart: “Set a fire down in my soul that I can’t contain, that I can’t control. I want more of you God.” - Jesus Culture When I encountered the Holy Spirit for the first time, I learned to hear God more clearly than ever before. I learned to walk with authority in Christ. More than ever, this helped me to walk in freedom from sin. In this time He gave me this song lyric to meditate on: “I’ve tasted and seen, of the sweetest of loves, where my heart becomes free, and my shame is undone.” - Jesus Culture “Your love never fails, it never gives up, it never runs out on me.” - Kristian Stanfill After all of these experiences, God prepared a way for me to move to Kentucky to pursue my passion for worship music. It has been unbelievable to walk the path he has laid before me. I have been given so many opportunities, from touring in a Christian band earlier this year and leading worship through drums each week at church, and it is an honor I don’t take lightly. God gives such good gifts to us, and I am thankful and humbled He continues to pursue my heart. Even when temptation rises and I feel the enemy attacking, He reminds me that His love is never changing.
REVIEW: I had never heard of him before. So I
pressed play not knowing what to expect. With his new EP recently being released, I hoped for the best from his stuff and gave it a go. If there was a Christian coffee house acoustic type of sound, Mike Lee has it. His EP “All I Need” has a chill kind of vibe with his acoustic guitar setting the tone for each track on the album. My favorite track off the EP is “Freedom”. It has a feel good vibe with lyrics talking about our chains being broken and living in freedom, living in victory. “Oh freedom yeah, this freedom For freedom I am free My chains have been broken, I stand in victory.” Give his stuff a listen. I think you’ll like it. I grade it a 5.8 out of 10.
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5= 6= 7= 8= 9= 10 =
HAS POTENTIAL. WORTH TAKING A LISTEN TO. SOLID STUFF. WILL ADD A SONG TO A PLAYLIST. GOOD MUSIC. WILL DOWNLOAD A HANDFUL OF SONGS. REALLY, REALLY, REALLY GOOD. AMAZING. A CLASSIC.
ARTIST: GEMSTONES ALBUM: BLIND ELEPHANT GENRE: CHRISTIAN RAP
ARTIST: JIMMY NEEDHAM ALBUM: VICE & VIRTUE GENRE: POP REVIEW: I listened through the songs on his album Vice & Virtue. It has a sort of Maroon 5 with hints of Justin Timberlake soul-pop sound mixed into it. My favorite track off the 11 song album is Jekyll & Hyde. The beat is bluesy with a bounce to the rhythm. There’s an element of creativity in this album that separates it from your standard Christian artist or Christian release. Weaved into the instruments and up-tempo feel to the album, you forget that it’s Christian. If you’re looking for a variation to add to your Christian music playlists, check out this album. I rate it an even 6.
Harvest R e c a p Lexington, KY.
eople talk about revival. This thing where the Christians rise up and Christ is revived from all the corners of the earth, and His Spirit brings new life into us. A revival. I flew to Kentucky uncertain of what to expect. Would they all be hillbilly’s out there? I know that’s harsh to say, but honestly, a west coast kid flying out to the Bluegrass State for the first time, you have to prepare yourself for everything. There wasn’t any hillbilly’s. What I found was a community of people in Lexington, KY who yearned for something more. That something was Jesus, and what trickled from that desire of wanting more Jesus manifested into people caring about each other. I’ve walked into different Christian circles before, but that weekend, Harvest, I experienced something new. People who didn’t know me, embraced me in an authentic way. People who didn’t know me, told me they cared about me. People who didn’t know me, gave me a love. A Jesus kind of love. A gathering of some hundreds of people gathered in a field in the countryside of Kentucky to experience Jesus for Harvest: A Night of Worship. There was no fancy building. No false expectations. The only hope and expectation was that Jesus would show up. And His way, He did. A revival was about to take place. I had a stirring in my heart that weekend. It reminded me what walking with Jesus is all about. Love. To experience His love and to love others. To care about people you barely know. To embrace people you just meet. To love them. My fear for the worst for what I was getting myself into prior to setting foot in the scenic greenery of Kentucky faded into a warmth towards the people who I met while I was there, and I built an appreciation for the charms of the country life that’s so different from my rush hour traffic back home. Community. Love. Friendship. Family. Revival. I flew to Lexington, Kentucky to be a part of Harvest: A Night of Worship and was there for 5 days. What I left with was a revival in my heart.
Harvest louisville, ky august 29th
PHOTOGRAPHER, SCOTTSDALE, AZ
"FOR THREE DAYS, I DIDN'T LAUGH OR SMILE AT ALL. FOR THE FIRST TIME IN MY LIFE, I QUESTIONED GOD. "
he year 2009 changed my life. That's the year I realized what it truly means to rely on Jesus because He was one of the few things I had left. I spent two years after high school serving in a disciple training program. My second year, I lived in Dallas and shared an apartment with three other girls in the program. That April, something happened that I never imagined would happen to me. On April 7th, my apartment burned down. I remember driving towards my apartment and seeing the fire trucks—a dozen of them. I prayed that it wasn't my apartment, that everything was okay. When I finally made it into the complex and realized the apartment building that was burning was mine, all I could do was cry. I stood there, watching my apartment burn, thinking of all the things I was losing, all the things I would never get back. I looked around and saw news cameras and the people in front of them talking about the fire like it wasn't happening to real people. They talked about it with no emotion as I was standing there filled with more emotions than I've ever felt at one time. That day felt like the longest day that I have ever lived. Still thinking about it now, I can remember every hour of that day and every feeling that came with it. Throughout the next few days, I felt broken, but I also felt loved. I felt incredibly loved by the people in my life who encouraged me, cried with me, and prayed for me. I was grateful for the people who helped me emotionally and financially. But even with all the love I was feeling, I was falling into a depression. For three days, I didn't laugh or smile at all. For the first time in my life, I questioned God. I grew up in church, going to Christian schools and living with a family who loved Jesus. Having a relationship with Jesus was really the only way that I knew to live. Thinking about it now, I'm thankful to have lived such a blessed life that I never felt the need
to question God—up until that day, at least. I can't quite put into words what changed everything for me. All I know is that after three days of depression, I was healed. I no longer questioned who God was or why this happened. I didn't need all the answers, I only needed Jesus. I still missed many of the things that I lost, but I wasn't broken by the loss anymore. I was somehow able to see this event as a blessing, a blessing that showed me there is more to life than things. There are people and relationships and moments and Jesus. I didn't realize Jesus is all I will ever need until He was all that I had. There were no more distractions or possessions that could stand in the way of me having a full relationship with Jesus. I was able to see beauty in the simple things. I was able to be thankful for my hardships, to find purpose in devastating circumstances, and to hope when everything seemed hopeless. A few months later, I received a check from my insurance company. The money didn't come close to equaling everything I lost, but it was the most money I had ever had at one time. Sure, it would have made sense to buy clothes and things that I lost in the fire, but, instead, I bought a camera. I bought a camera hoping to better document important moments in my life without having the goal to become a photographer. After a few years of using it for personal use, I started exploring the world of photography. Photography was never my dream—it just stemmed from a hasty decision to buy a camera with my insurance money. But, now, I know it was a dream that I never even knew I had. It is a passion that I hadn’t yet discovered. There are many reasons that I now view the fire as a blessing, and my photography career is one of them!
PHOTOGRAPHY BY LEAH HOPE
"I AM STILL FINDING MYSELF IN ALL OF THIS. THIS NEWFOUND HOPE OF FORGIVENESS AND LEARNING TO EMBRACE THE JOY IN SIMPLY BEING HAS TOTALLY CHANGED MY OUTLOOK"
y life is not perfect. My story is not grand. My default is sin. I am not spiritual all the time. There are days where I feel God, and there are days where I don’t. There are days I seek to please Him and days I fall so short. And yet, I sit here, typing my testimony in hopes that God can change a heart through these words you are reading. I am the textbook Christian. I grew up in church and accepted Christ when I was six. Every single Sunday after that, I went to the altar to re-ask Him into my heart, for fear that my first attempt at acceptance wasn’t enough. You think I’m kidding. I wish I was. Those Sundays proved to be the start of a life-long struggle. For the next twelve or more years, I would wrestle with being good enough. That was, and still is, my downfall, the fatal blow. You see, I grew up thinking that if I could do enough, or be kind enough, or serve enough, or pray enough, I would be in the clear. That if I could just somehow attain perfection—super unrealistic, I know—I would finally be enough. Satan was a pro at convincing me that it only took a little more effort to win people over, or just a little more apologizing to be forgiven. Jesus became a judge, and a harsh one at that. I couldn’t go to Him like I would go to a loving father. Surely, He would have some sort of punishment in store for me. There had to be a verse in the Bible condemning those to eternal torment who didn’t measure up, right? Wrong. So wrong. I began college nearly a year ago, and that is when I really started to uncover this sin inside me. In the midst of my heart being troubled at the deception I had willingly invited for years, I realized I could be free. A part of me didn’t want the freedom. I was comfortable in my striving and in never feeling enough. But isn’t that just like the devil? To take sin that we don’t even like, that discourages us, that brings us to tears, and
disguise it as something natural and comforting. Thankfully, God is greater than it all. After choosing freedom, Jesus began to heal. In the corners of my mind, I can hear Him whispering, “You are enough. You are enough.” More often than not, I forget that He is there waiting to speak those soothing words to my aching heart. But on the days that I actively dwell on them—my, how liberating that is! I am still finding myself in all of this. This newfound hope of forgiveness and learning to embrace the joy in simply being has totally changed my outlook on a lot of things, including photography. Even though I have had a love for creating with my camera since I was fourteen, it is only now that it carries depth with its purpose. In discovering that I am enough, I also realize that others are enough, that beauty is all around. That everyone is, indeed, beautiful. That it is more important to examine souls than bodies. That the simplest of life’s happenings can be the greatest pieces to the heart of the Father. How grateful I am to create with this vision. Remember that little girl that sheepishly tiptoed to the altar every single church service to pray alone for salvation? Well, fragments of her are still hidden inside of the woman I am becoming. She shows herself with every task, every endeavor, every dream. She still fears failure, rejection, and the mother of them all—not being enough. I wish I could say that I have no struggle, worry, or pain, but I would be lying and severely inhuman. I have realized that at the end of myself, I find Jesus. His grace never runs out—ever. His forgiveness is the real deal. His love is greater than we could ever fathom. It is an honor to proclaim the message of Christ through photography. After all, it must, must, must be told.
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MICHELA BROOKE
August PHOTOGRAPHY BY KAMILLE DORR
JOB 11:13 "SURRENDER YOUR HEART TO GOD, TURN TO HIM IN PRAYER"