ANGELIC july 2015
ANGELIC JULY 2ù15 CONTENT 16 24 25 26 28 30 38 46 50 52 58 70 73 74 83 86 94
DAKOTA AUSTIN FEATURE WHEN THINGS DON’T COME EASY THE NOT SO GONE GIRL BAND SPOTLIGHT: RED LETTER HYMNAL TEMPTATION. AND THE BIKINI. KRISTEN JOY FEATURE JESSICA BILLS FEATURE THE OUTCOME OF OUR DAY MUSIC REVIEWS BAND PHOTOGRAPHER: NEIL SIMMONS THE PHOTO-SHOOT THAT CHANGED MY LIFE SINGER/SONGWRITER: CASEY KLEEMAN ONE NATION UNDER GOD NINA FRANCINE FEATURE SUMMER IS THICK ANGELIC MAGAZINE PHOTO-SHOOT JUSTIN CLEMONS FEATURE
JESUS. MUSIC. FASHION.
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ANGELIC STAFF LETTER "LOVING PEOPLE"
S TAFF WRITER: KATIE MAY ’ve been thinking a lot lately about how we spend our time. This morning I was sitting on my porch reading and my neighbor was coming around picking up her dog’s poop in front of my porch. First of all, that is very selfless and kind. I exchanged a smile and a few quick words, then went back to reading. Shortly after, another neighbor came by, walked over to her, and they chatted for a bit. I have to admit I was a little jealous, but I could have simply done the same thing. A friend of mine sent me an article about where our ministries should be focused on as Christians. One was in our peers, one was the church, but the most important was in the people who don’t believe in Jesus. “And our ministry to the lost trumps our other responsibilities every time. We advocate for the lost, relate to the lost, and give our time and energy to bringing lost people to Jesus, first and foremost.” - Brandon Cox I love this because I forget how important every single human is to God and how important they should be to me, too. I get so distracted by myself and my responsibilities that I don’t realize how much of that time could be spent on something else—more importantly, someone else. We are all called to love, to go out of our way and love those who hate us and love those who love us back. For me, I need to start by loving my neighbors (literally). No matter where people stand religiously, politically, if they have outgoing personalities or keep to themselves, we are called to do something. Who says you need to wait until Christmas to bake cookies for strangers? www.ANGELICMAG.com JESUS. MUSIC. FASHION. @angelicmagazine
PHOTO BY COURTNEY WARD
PHOTOGRAPHER INTERVIEW // BESSEMER, AL
ANGELIC: Why Jesus?
Austin: Jesus loved me when I was unlovable. He loved me even though He knew I would make a mess of myself. He gave His own life to prove that, knowing that I would never be able to repay Him for what He did for me. When I received that truth and the grace that accompanied it, Jesus wrecked my life. Q: Why photography? A: God gave me a tangible way to tell the story of His Presenceâ€”seen through Jesusâ€”in one of the most difficult seasons of my life. Photography gives me a way to continually unveil that beauty, wherever His presence is, whatever season, circumstance, place, or person. It helps me to align my heart with His. Q: What do you want people to know about who Dakota is as a person? A: I am nothing without Jesus. Everything I am is because of who He is. He has forgiven me, healed
redeemed me, and crowned me with love. Q: If you could photograph one person alive in this world today, who would it be and why? A: Katie Davis, author of Kisses from Katie. Before I left for my first mission trip, I read her book and I was deeply moved by the authenticity and pureness of her love for our Heavenly Daddy and His children. I would love to spend a week or two in Uganda connecting with Katie and her children while capturing stories with a lifestyle photography approach. Q: One day, when your legacy is fully written, what would you like the last line of that legacy to say? A: Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples (John 13:35 NLT).
photography by dakota austin
WHEN THINGS DON'T COME EASILY "I ’ .N .I ’
HAVEN T GOTTEN A SINGLE INTERVIEW O ONE HAS CALLED ME T S DISHEARTENING AND VERY DISCOURAGING. HONESTLY, IT’ S TERRIFYING." B Y MAEGAN DOCKERY am someone that likes things to come easy. I don’t seminary, and we are both really excited as well as know many people who want their journeys to be really nervous. I’ve been applying for jobs in my field, hoping to difficult ones, but they do often make for better stories. find something before we make the big move. I’ve I like easy, though. I like trying a sport or class or project and being applied to so many places. I redesigned my resume so successful from the beginning. It doesn’t happen often, it’s eye-catching but still clean and simple. I’ve especially with sports, but it makes you feel good when reached out to contacts in our new town and networked with several people in the industry. you’re just naturally good at something. I honestly thought I’d have several interviews, I like the confidence I gain when I’m good at something quickly. I like it when things seem maybe even a big decision in trying to figure out which job I liked best. Unfortunately, that hasn’t been effortless. It’s when things are tough that I get uncomfortable. I the case. I haven’t gotten a single interview. No one has don’t like looking stupid in front of other people or called me. It’s disheartening and very discouraging. admitting defeat if it just isn’t working out. I’ve been trying to become a runner for about a year Honestly, it’s terrifying. I wanted this job search to come easy. I had a hard now. I read a lot of running blogs, and it seemed easy enough. I knew I wasn’t going to be good right away, time finding a degree-related job when I graduated but there are a lot of people out there who used to have college, so I knew for sure God would let it be simple trouble walking a mile let alone run one and are now this time. Wrong again. I seem to be on a roll, huh? The good running marathons! If they can do it, of course I can, news is, God knows the end result. He is orchestrating right? Wrong. I’m not good at running. Like I said, it’s been something beyond my comprehension right now, and about a year since I first started trying, and I can’t run all I have to do is have faith in His timing. But you know what? Having faith in God’s timing much more than a mile without having to stop and walk. It’s discouraging. I don’t like not being good at doesn’t come easy to me, either. I have to work really hard at it. I like my timing, and I sure do wish it something. I don’t like struggling. Recently, I started a different approach to running. matched up with His more often. Thank goodness He It’s slow and gradual, but it’s going really well. I is God and I am not. I might not ever run a marathon and I might not find shouldn’t expect to be good at it right away. No one goes for their very first run ever and does several my dream job, but I know that whatever God has in store is going to be even better than my dream. I have miles. It takes time. We live in a world where we are all about instant faith and find comfort in that fact. Things don’t always come easy, and I really wish gratification. I am learning that the time in between is just as important as the end result. The journey is just sometimes they would. But I’m grateful for the stories I have when I can overcome obstacles and give as important as the destination, as they say. My husband and I are getting ready to move in the God—and not myself—the glory and praise He so next few weeks. He is following God’s call to go to deserves.
the not so gone girl
WHAT A SICK LOVE AFFAIR. THE DARKER THE NIGHT, THE MORE OF IT SHE EMBRACED. THE FURTHER SHE FOUND HERSELF GONE, THE BIGGER HER SLY AND BROKEN SMILE STRETCHED OUT.
BY CLARE TUCKER
ere is a story of freedom, and Jesus is our freedom fighter: Gone are the days of sadness versus joy. Gone are the wishes of death from a beautiful girl. Gone is the hatred for life. The world thought she was happy. She was beautiful, even then, fooling everyone who looked in. Gone is the darkness in which she dwelled by choice and, there, was comfortable. Gone is every hidden corner of her sickness. Jesus. You break our chains. When she would fight using only her own power, she lost. And, almost contrived, she accepted that loss willfully, refusing God’s extensions of grace and love that whispered down so closely—for she had fallen in love with her chains. What a sick love affair. The darker the night, the more of it she embraced. The further she found herself gone, the bigger her sly and broken smile stretched out. The enemy liked her. A lot. She was of no threat to him. And she loved his grip because she hated herself. Jesus. You break our chains. Depression and addiction lent their hand and became the gone girl's new haven. Oh Jesus, how hard You must have wept. How sad she must have made You. Your grace still fought. Your mercy ran for her without fatigue. Day and night. Years and years. You found her in the darkest and most shameful of spaces, where You were never afraid to go. She couldn’t run far enough into the dark. She thought surely You had lost her tracks. But, always winning, You found Your daughter’s heart, deep inside that hole in her chest. That was her hopeless place. She didn’t want You there. She tested You. You wouldn’t go that far for her—no one would. Right? She knew the taste of
Your grace. The innocent girl she used to be knew what Papa God’s love looked like. But too much had happened. She had done too many bad things. Right? The enemy spoke to her insecurities and her broken heart so loudly. These were lies she would believe for years. The dark was her lullaby. Sadness was her hope and stay. However, desperation and sickness can only provide so much false comfort before the King rips through its thin veil of trickery and His triumphant roars must be heard. The gone girl’s ears heard it the loudest. She longed to be Your girl again, a girl who was not so gone. This became her everything, in that wisp of air we call a moment—a Spirit thing, many of us call it. That gone girl was me. Jesus, You are my everything. If You designed me in the way of the gone girl, so terribly broken, in order to show off Your masterpiece of Healing, then I would live it all over again. It makes all the sense in the world. I would do anything to thank You God, although what I have to offer You is only rags. I will do everything to glorify You, even on the days that depression is there waiting for me to crumble again. I will call on You through my fearful tears, and there You will be. Before realizing that “feeling better” is even an option—I will. Jesus. You break our chains. We declare that no longer will our brokenness define us, but what we find while treading through the pieces is what defines us. Your Healing. What You heal in us and all the restoration You design through us because You believe we are good enough to die for, is what defines us. We are not gone.
BAND SPOTLIGHT: red letter hymnal Hailing
from Pittsburgh, PA, Red Letter Hymnal classifies their sound as Christian, EDM and Pop. With a new album release last month on June 19th and traveling the country playing at the Creation Festivals this summer, the guys from Red Letter Hymnal are making their mark on the music scene from coast to coast. If you’re an electronic music fan, you’ll
detect the 4 on the floor beats and synths sounds on their album giving it an EDM flare but you’ll also hear tradition Christian praise and worship type elements that give it a good balance for the Christian music listening audience. My favorite song off the album is “A Sky Without Stars” which has an acoustic arrangement with lyrics singing to Jesus. I think you’ll like it too.
christian. edm. pop "In a world where popular music has become an influential center of social depravity, Red Letter Hymnal seeks the redemption of this art by fusing pop melodies with the divine to realize a creative coalescence through which the inspiration of hope and expression in the love of Jesus Christ reign supreme." It takes a certain amount of boldness to be yourself in the Christian world and RLH has a
a sound unique to themselves. It's that boldness that makes them Angelic's July issue band spotlight. Iâ€™m impressed with their music and album. Visit their website www.redletterhymnal.com to stream their music, watch their videos and more.
B Y JESSE ANAYA walked a dirt trail to the beach to read my Bible one day. There’s nothing quite like sitting on the shore of the sand, waves rolling in front of you, sunshine on your skin and a calm breeze quieting your mind as you read God’s word. It’s a perfect moment and if you ever get the opportunity to do something like that, I hope you do. I decided to make an afternoon of it. My backpack had a few bags of my favorite snack, trail mix, the kind with the M&M’s inside of it along with some bottles of water and my Bible. It was an 7 minute walk from where I lived to this private beach in north county San Diego. All the vacationers and out-of-towners flock to the main beaches, but this beach, the one tucked away off the main roads where my dirt trail would lead, only the locals and surfers knew about it. Sitting on the sand next to the waves, I took in that moment. But my moment would be short lived. I didn’t think it fully through. My blissful Bible reading experience of sitting on the shore of the beach and connecting with Jesus came to a halt. Sunshine, good weather, the beach, it’s a recipe for more than bliss. It’s also a recipe for women in bikinis. I found myself sitting there at my spot on the beach and all around me were girls -- in seductive small bikinis. Women lying out in the sun. Women running in the water. Women running out of the water. Water dripping off their bodies. Tight bikinis. Small bikinis. Bodies. Flesh. Boob. Thigh. Butt. Skin. I’m sitting there and all around me are women in swimsuits that reveal more of their bodies than what they wear for pajamas. And it wasn’t just because I was at a tucked away beach in San Diego, these types of bikinis are the norm for what girls wear today. My moment to connect with Jesus was interrupted by the idea that I felt the devil was trying to distract
me and get me to quiet that inner voice that’s saying you shouldn’t be here right now. I could pretend like it’s no big deal that I’m at the beach, because after all, it’s just the beach. Doing something so innocent became so blurred the evolution of the bikini
and I hated that my inner voices were talking to me. Stay,
it’s no big deal. Go, you can read your Bible somewhere else.
My conscience didn’t feel right sitting there with half naked women all around me as I tried to connect with God. So, I got up and left. That was last time I ever walked that dirt trail with my Bible in my backpack, my trail mix with the M&M’s and bottles of water. 1 Peter 5:8 “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
ND THE BIKINI.
David who slayed Goliath in the Bible had a vice, it was women. Sampson, the Biblical figure who was the mightiest of men when it came to physical strength had a great weakness, women. Solomon, who was said to be the wisest of men and wrote books of the Bible had a reoccurring habit, women. Martin Luther King Jr. the revered civil rights activist, Baptist preacher and man who has a national holiday in his name had a problem, his lust for women. Thomas Jefferson, one of the founding fathers of America had a secret he tried to keep quiet, his infidelity with a woman. Bill Clinton. Kobe Bryant. Brad Pitt. I can go on and on. Men are unfaithful. Men are tempted and enticed by women. Matthew 5:29 “If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” I’m not one of those who say girls should cover up so we men won’t lust. I’m not one of those who say “ladies, dress modest so that your brothers in Christ won’t stumble.” I’m not one of those people because as men we have the choice to go to the beach and be surrounded by women in bikinis or simply not go. We can go to the Vegas pool parties or not go. We can go to strip clubs or not go. We can look at porn or not look at it. We can have affairs or not have them. We can put ourselves in predicaments to seek God or seek our flesh. It is normal for a man to be attracted to a woman. It’s how God designed it to be. We’re designed to recognize and appreciate beauty of the flesh the way we’re designed to appreciate a beautiful sunset, a stunning waterfall and the sight of the waves crashing against the sand, but the difference between appreciating beauty and lusting after it is what it does to our hearts. Matthew 5:28 “anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
"MY CONSCIENCE DIDN’T FEEL RIGHT SITTING THERE WITH HALF NAKED WOMEN ALL AROUND ME AS I TRIED TO CONNECT WITH GOD"
I stopped going to the beach to read my Bible because I didn’t want to put myself in position to look at a woman lustfully and commit adultery with her in my heart. To glance at or notice a woman in a bikini isn’t wrong, but it’s that second look, that 3rd look and that look that turns from merely noticing to lusting. I’m single today but what’s going to happen when I’m married? Scripture tells me “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones.” Luke 16:10 Men are unfaithful to their wives because they ignore the small promptings like to flee the beach when they’re surrounded by half naked women in small bikinis. And the lack of faithfulness in the small things leads to being unfaithful in the big things, like having affairs that ruin their marriage and their relationship with their children. When the devil tried to tempt Jesus, Jesus responded to devil by saying, “It is written.” Jesus quoted scripture to expose the devil in his lies. If you know the Bible, follow it, because it’ll always help you expose the devil in his tricks and lies to you. Let God’s word guide you because it’ll always lead you back to Him. It’ll always lead you to faithfulness. James 5:20 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”
kristen joy // las vegas wedding photographer
I WENT THROUGH FIVE YEARS IN AN EMOTIONALLY AND PHYSICALLY ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIP, AND THE ONE THING THAT SUSTAINED ME WAS C HRIST.
illsong United wrote a song called Desert Song. This song speaks so clearly to my walk with my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I sing it when I need to remember what God has done for me and how I rejoice in his love. Even in the hard times, God is there and He has plans of good for my life. I grew up in a Christian home, and I was in love with my Creator. I was in fourth grade when I watched my mother pray fervently to God and He answered her prayers. It was one of the hardest times in her life, and she showed me as a child how to pray and cry out to God even in the midst of pain and suffering, and she rejoiced in the Lord. I was in seventh grade when I moved with my family to Las Vegas. In the midst of losing friends, I saw God; He drew me close to Him in those hard times and I praised him. When I became pregnant my senior year of high school, I turned to God and He held me in the midst of my shame and embarrassment; He gave me peace. I went through five years in an emotionally and physically abusive relationship, and the one thing that sustained me was Christ. I would cry out to God and ask Him to hold me in my pain, and He did. I prayed one night, asking God to release me from this pain and this relationship and cried out my need for Him. He clearly spoke to me and said, "My dear princess, do you not know your worth? I will protect you; remain in Me, and I will remain in you." I needed that. I
needed to know that I was a co-heir with Christ and that He loved me and was still with me. "Precious children of God, when you saw only one set of footprints, it was then that He carried you." God carried me out of the darkness and into the light. I know my testimony is for hope, hope in God and His unfailing kindness. In the moments of darkness, I know that God does still love me, I am not forgotten, and there is hope. There is hope when all that is within me feels dry, He provides; when I go through the flame, He is refining me; I am a conqueror and co-heir with Christ. Jesus didn’t promise that if we followed Him and loved Him that we would not have pain and suffering. He did promise that He wouldn’t leave us or forsake us. I love this quote by Leslie Gould, “Sometimes God calms the storm, but sometimes God lets the storm rage and calms His child.” I am now a mother of four beautiful children and married to an amazing Godly man. It is my prayer that when more trials come my way, and I know they will, that I will rejoice in the Lord and I will remember He gives me peace that passes all human understanding, with His hope that is eternal. God in His love and mercy offers each one of us this hope, if we will only believe and receive His Son Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior.
photography by kristen joy
photographer riverside, ca
" IT WAS THIS SMALL “STEPFORD-LIKE” COMMUNITY OF SUPERIOR HUMAN BEINGS BECAUSE THEY WERE CALLING THEMSELVES C HRISTIANS AND I DID NOT."
was raised in bubble, but not of evangelism or AWANA. Our baptisms were done usually with babies because that was the tradition our big church decided and held to for hundreds of years. My family’s bubble included my two older sisters going to the Catholic high school in town, while my mom worked there as the secretary and while I was attending the Catholic elementary school across the parking lot. But don’t worry our Catholic church was across the street. Instead of VBS t-shirts, I had a school uniform. Instead of youth group, my sisters were in confirmation classes. Instead of memorizing Veggie Tales songs or AWANA verses, I memorized prayers: “Our Father,” “Hail Mary,” “Apostle’s Creed,” etc.. Fast forward to high school, my parents decided to send me to the best private school in town. Yeah I know, what a burden. But emotionally it was. Because it was this small “stepford-like” community of superior human beings because they were calling themselves Christians and I did not. I honestly didn’t know what the big deal difference was. My education in Catholic school led me to learning about the same gospel, the same roots of faith and confusion as to this division between me and some peers. There were multiple occasions where I was told I was going to hell because I was a Catholic. But being the hyper-mature 13 year-old at the time, I said “screw Christians” and decided not to conform to this weird alternate faith they wanted to condemn me to. However, God’s grace had other plans. Let’s fast forward a bit because who really needs to spend all that much time reflecting on high school. The first three years of college were entirely transformative. I attended California Baptist University and after changing my major more times than normal, I stumbled upon a Christian Behavioral Science class. Those classes have taught me crucial pillars to my faith: 1. I pray that I maintain Kingdom priorities and an
eternal perspective. 2. I pray that I would seek ministry and the development of other's spiritual gifts. 3. I pray that I would love the whole Church and never facilitate any further divisions amongst her. Fast forward to today, I consider my faith a multidenominationalist, basically I want to appreciate the differences in denominations but not at the sacrifice of unity for God’s people. I am thankful for my Catholic roots and the wonderful family I have at a small Southern Baptist Church in Southern California. I still struggle with a mess of pride and a dense cloud of insecurities, still find myself trying to be independent from God. But His Word, His people and that sweetly powerful agape love always rebukes me back to Him. My camera is a tool of ministry. Sometimes it is being gracious by how much I charge a couple for a wedding. Sometimes it is diminishing lies of insecurities during a portrait session. And just as God sees us for who we are, I think photographers have this gift to show people a different side of them. I shoot everything, mostly because my favorite thing to shoot is people and people do a lot of things. I just graduated from CBU with a double degree in journalism and Christian behavioral science. I love my church, my family, my friends, my ukulele, and being instrument of healing in our Redeemer’s hand. Also, I’ve watched all Gilmore Girls seasons at least 4 times. I think the most important thing I’d want someone to take away from my story is that it is true that God is God and I am me. But, I think there is a value of community that we miss in many of the verses we memorize. And to remind myself of God’s care for His people and that we in the Church are all in this together, I say yes He is greater than I, but even more so, He > us.
photography by jessica bills
THE OUTCOME W e don’t have to look very far to see that the world is in upheaval. Riots and racial BY KELSEY ACH
discrimination, holy wars and poverty, perversion and slavery are everywhere. And the darkness seems like it will overtake us all. The darkness creeps into our homes, social media streams, and very souls in a matter of minutes. The darkness appears to take over. Until we see the glimmer of Light. You see, I understand there is slavery. I see the racial discrimination. I hear about the holy wars. My heart breaks time and time again after each news story. But I am convinced that this is not a time of darkness for our world. In fact, I would go so far as to bet my own life on the fact that, at this point in history, our God is working like never before. So while ISIS beheads our brothers and sisters across the world, do you know what is happening? The Name of Jesus spreads. And as a man walks into a Bible study and kills our brothers and sisters in cold blood, do you know what the outcome is? The Name of Jesus spreads. And the darkness of sin will try to overcome, but we all know what the outcome is: the Name ofJesus will spread. If this article is anything at all, it is a reminder that evil will never win. Evil has already been defeated. And while some may say we are quiet and dead, let me remind you right now that the Bride of Christ—the Church—is very much alive. There is movement and quaking for revival. The world hungers and thirsts for Jesus, and they don’t even know it. But we know the end result; we know the outcome. The outcome will always and forever be that the Name of Jesus will spread.
“Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place and gave Him the Name that is above every name, that at the Name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. ” -Philippians 2:9-11 NIV
I watch the news and scroll through social media only to be rejuvenated. And how could I be rejuvenated at such a time as this? In the midst of heartache, turmoil, and strife, how can I press on? I press on because this time has been foretold. And, even in the middle of such hate, there is a Love that covers all. Thousands of years ago, it was prophesied that there would be destruction. Jesus Himself told His followers that the world would hate them. If you are a follower of Christ, you are not surprised that the world hates you. I’m not surprised. So while the news tells us one thing, my authority, the powerful Word of God and strong Body of Christ, tells me another. The Word of God tells me to lean into my King. The Body of Christ echoes that we are alive and well. I see the Church around the world
growing rapidly. I see followers of Christ taking a stand on their morals. I see all colors and races linking arms in solidarity. World, we are not broken. God has not forgotten us. The darkness will not win. And, no matter how fast the evil seems to spread, Love will conquer all. No matter how skewered governments seem to become, God’s commandments still stand. We are living in hard times, that is true. But the same God that conquered the grave and defeated sin and death for all of eternity is the same God
E OF OUR DAY "S O WHILE ISIS BEHEADS OUR
BROTHERS AND SISTERS ACROSS THE WORLD, DO YOU KNOW WHAT IS HAPPENING? T HE NAME OF JESUS SPREADS. AND AS A MAN WALKS INTO A B IBLE STUDY AND KILLS OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN COLD BLOOD, DO YOU KNOW WHAT THE OUTCOME IS ? T HE NAME OF JESUS SPREADS. AND THE DARKNESS OF SIN WILL TRY TO OVERCOME, BUT WE ALL KNOW WHAT THE OUTCOME IS : T HE NAME OF JESUS WILL SPREAD." today. Jesus does not change. So I will not be moved or undone. Today, when the evil presence of the world appears to cave you in, stand up. Because God is here, and He is ready for His people to move. Think about it. Out of every period of history, out of all the people that have walked the planet, out of every state of humanity, God picked us to be here now. Coincidence? I think not. Purposefully planned? Absolutely. We are here for a Divine reason. We are here to spread the news that God is Alive and God is Here and God is Ready. Our Powerful and Death-Defeating Jesus is ready for worldwide revival. He is ready to bring His children Home and take His Bride, the Church, to be with Him forever. Jesus is Power. Jesus has won. Remember that, today and every day. Let this be a reminder to us that we were created for this very hour. We were created and equipped for this very season—to stand up for the Kingdom of God and impact the world as never before. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him Who loved us. ” -Romans 8:37 NIV
NEW MUSIC ARTIST: MIKE LEE ALBUM: ALL I NEED GENRE: ACOUSTIC
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.
IF YOU WOULD LIKE YOUR ALBUM FEATURED AND REVIEWED, SUBMIT YOUR ALBUM TO US AT SUBMISSIONS @ANGELICMAG. COM
GRADING SCALE 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.
C REVIEWS ARTIST: GEMSTONES ALBUM: BLIND ELEPHANT GENRE: CHRISTIAN RAP REVIEW: I find most Christian rap as a knockoff version of real hip-hop. I mostly find it corny and to be honest, I’m not much of a fan of Christian rap/hip-hop. Hip-hop heads listen to hip-hop because they want real hip-hop, regardless if it’s Christian, non-Christian, hardcore rap or feel good rap. So, when I listened to Gemstones recently released album “Blind Elephant”, I expected to be disappointed and have it be just another knock-off version of a real hip-hop album with some Christian lingo mixed into it. But the album was actually creatively pretty good. His lyrics are about life and in the midst of the lyrics, you can get Jesus overtones but it’s not necessarily cheesy to where you get that watered down Christian-y feel. It passes the real A R T I S T : J I M M Y N E E D H A M hip-hop test. ALBUM: VICE & VIRTUE The production was solid on the beats. His GENRE: POP flow is nice. He’s Christian, and a rapper, and I came to respect his artistry. So, was the album REVIEW: I listened through the songs on his album any good? Vice & Virtue. It has a sort of Maroon 5 with hints of There’s a mixture of legit beat type tracks you Justin Timberlake soul-pop sound mixed into it. could mix into a DJ set and some soulful beat My favorite track off the 11 song album is Jekyll & type tracks the balance out the soft and hard rap Hyde. The beat is bluesy with a bounce to the rhythm. sound of the album. There’s an element of creativity in this album that Overall, I’d give it a solid 6.5 out of 10. I separates it from your standard Christian artist or think hip-hop people will like it and the Christian release. suburban Christian hip-hop fan will appreciate Weaved into the instruments and up-tempo feel to the the real and rawness of what he raps about. album, you forget that it’s Christian. If you’re looking My favorite track off the album is “New for a variation to add to your Christian music playlists, World”. Give the album a listen. check out this album. I rate it an even 6.
"THE RELATIONSHIP WAS CENTERED ON BEING SEXUAL AS MUCH AS WE COULD. I COULD NOT STAND WHAT I WAS DOING, SO I BROKE THE RELATIONSHIP OFF AND FELT UTTERLY ALONE. "
rom a young age, I was very sheltered and never got to experience most things that other kids were getting into. Though I am glad I never did those things, it left me very curious later on in life. Being baptized at the age of fourteen can be tough for a young disciple, seeing as there is a lot of life ahead. Having a strong family of disciples around me to spur me on and encourage me to be stronger in my walk with God definitely made things a lot easier, but it did not guarantee my salvation. Toward the end of my high school years, I became very influenced by my friends outside of church, and, although they were great people, I let myself justify things that I knew were not okay by the Bible’s standards. I started seeking relationships that were about, “How can I fulfill my needs?” instead of, “How can I lead the relationship in a Godly way?” Finding out that the selfish way of thinking in any kind of relationship doesn’t last long, I became frustrated with God. Being a part of a campus ministry and not going to school can be tough since you don’t really relate to the fellowship of disciples or the people you are reaching out to in the sense of what you are doing currently in life. As I strived to connect as much as I could, there was always this distance from myself and the rest of the group. I continued to stay idle in my walk with God and didn’t seek much help, so I decided to leave the body and pursue another congregation. Seeking out these other churches and trying to find another family was way harder than I realized. My choice to disconnect and look elsewhere for where God was calling me was very selfish and foolish. As many of the churches I visited were very impacting and had great members, I couldn’t help feeling a sense of not-togetherness. Every time I went to a service, it felt as if it was either a presentation or an event. Not many people knew who each other were and they didn’t feel like family. Ephesians 2:19 talks about how we are a household, and I wasn’t able to really find that in other places.
mons // Dallas, TX
After not being connected with a body for so long, I stopped going to church all together and found a girl that was pulling me toward a path I knew was very dangerous. The relationship was centered on being sexual as much as we could. I could not stand what I was doing, so I broke the relationship off and felt utterly alone. Shortly after that, I ended up having to leave the place I was living and forced to couch-hop and live out of my car. As you can imagine, it was very embarrassing having to go to work and tell your boss that you were still waiting to find out where you were going to stay each night. This was the lowest point in my life. Having nothing and feeling like no one cared reminded me that God was the only one I could find strength in. Philippians 4:13 says, â€œI can do all things through him who gives me strength.â€?
photography by neil simmons
THE STORY OF HOW ANGELIC MAGAZINE WAS CREATED
TheI went date was November 11th, 2011. 11-11-11. to a fashion show at a club old town BY JESSE ANAYA
Scottsdale, AZ that night. If you’re not familiar, old town Scottsdale is the trend spot, the night life spot, the place where they host the parties and where all the celebrities flock to when the Super Bowl comes to Phoenix. I wasn’t a club person but my friend was showing her fashion line that night and my other friend was a part of the event staff who was putting on the fashion show. My one friend, the one doing the event staff got me a media credential to be in the pit where all the photogs snap shots of the models on the runway. It was my first time doing runway photography and I wanted to make it look like I knew what I was doing. You see, at that point in my life I was praying really hard for my purpose in life. I was a few years removed from college and the only doors that would open for me were fashion photography doors but was that my purpose? To be a fashion photographer? It seemed like such a bleak, superficial existence and I wanted more for my life. My Communication Studies degree didn’t mean anything. No jobs would hire me and all I had was my camera to lean on. So that night, I remember standing in the “pit” and a photographer with a fancy camera stood next to me. His camera dwarfed mine in size and in price, but unashamed, I held my little camera in my hand and was ready to shoot. The photographer guy started talking to me. He was an older guy in his 40s and I remember he said, “It looks like the twins are here.” I looked at him confused. Was that some sort of runway photography lingo I didn’t know about? In my confusion, I asked him, “What do you mean?” And he nodded his head to the right.
He was referring to the woman with the low cut top with her fake you know, almost toppling out. The twins. I could tell the guy was a sleaze. He began to tell me he was hired by a designer specifically to come shoot her stuff on the runway that night and he went on and on about how big of a deal he was. He gave me his card and the fashion show started. I didn’t know it at the time but God had this guy play an important role in where I am today. A few weeks later after that night, in early December another door opened for me. A modeling agency in New York contacted me to photograph one of their models. I was excited. It was the first time an agency reached out to me and although I still struggled with if fashion photography is what God had called me to do, I felt this was a big opportunity for myself and the team of stylists I worked with. Unknowingly, I wasn’t aware that this shoot would soon change my life. The girl the agency had sent was fresh out of high school, 18 years old, quiet and really shy. When agencies send models to a shoot, the models go by themselves as its fashion agency standard policy. No chaperones. No parents. No friends to tag along. It’s business. It’s work. I asked the young girl that day if she’d done a lot of photo-shoots? She said that day was only her second time doing a shoot so I asked if her first photo-shoot was a good experience and I could tell my question made her uncomfortable. I thought it was just her being nervous so I brushed it off not paying any mind to it. In those days I did photo-shoots with a specific team of women. We had become friends and they were creative women, stylists, hair and makeup artists, bold women, the type of women who would
HAT CHANGED MY LIFE "IN THAT MOMENT I REALIZED I NEEDED TO FIGHT BACK. I NEEDED TO FIGHT THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH THROUGH FASHION
stand up for each other. That day they took that young 18 year old girl under their wing and they made her feel like she was a part of our fashion family for that shoot. The photos rocked. The agency was happy. My team was happy. And I felt good about it all. So one night around that season, I remember it was near Christmas, I glanced at my desk and saw that guy’s card, the photographer guy from the club in Scottsdale. I decided to see who he really was. To my surprise, the shy, really quiet 18 year old girl who the agency sent my way to photograph, he had photographed her too. He was her first photo-shoot. I saw the photos he took of her posted on his website and I remember my eyes swelled with tears when I saw them. A powerful nerve was hit. He had her naked with only her arm across her chest. You could tell he had her by himself because no stylist team was credited and the young 18 year old girl who wanted to be a model and make it big and who my team made her feel like she was a part of us, he took advantage of her innocence as a young woman. I became angry and took it personally. I had met this guy weeks earlier and knew he was a sleaze. I thought what if that was one of my sisters and how many girls in the history of fashion photography had fallen prey to pervert dudes with cameras; men in the industry who abused their power. In that moment I realized I needed to fight back. I needed to fight the good fight of faith through fashion photography and the light bulb went off that God had finally revealed to me the purpose I had been praying for. It finally made sense why no other doors had opened for me, just the fashion photography ones. 11-11-11 changed my life. Instead of doing fashion shows at clubs, let’s do fashion shows for the church. Instead of doing photo-shoots for agencies, let’s do them for Jesus. Let’s illustrate modesty and decency and bring fashion back to what God intended it to be. Let’s stand up for the models who can’t stand up for themselves. Let’s make all of them feel like they’re a part of us. Let’s be a light in that darkness. On February 12, 2012, Angelic Magazine went live online for the first time and I’ve never looked back. The photos you'll see after this page are the photos from the shoot that changed my life.
model: chloe makeup: trish nenes hair: kristen mayes wardrobe: sarah murzyn clothing: pink house boutique photography: jesse anaya
CASEY KLEEMAN SINGER/SONGWRITER - PHOENIX
"I WAS UNSURE HOW TO REACH NONBELIEVERS IF I ONLY FOCUSED ON WORSHIP MUSIC. A S I SHUFFLED THROUGH THESE QUESTIONS, I YEARNED TO UNDERSTAND WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE TO BE BOTH A MUSICIAN AND A CHRISTIAN. "
W hen I was young, my mom would blast worship music in the living room. My sisters, my
mom, and I would dance our hearts out and sing at the top of our lungs, worshipping the Lord. Writing and playing music has always been a huge part of my life. My siblings and I took piano lessons growing up, but I hated them. I would sit down to practice and create my own melodies, rarely looking up to practice the notes on the page. When I turned eleven, I quit piano lessons to play the guitar. I loved it because I could learn worship songs and sing along to them. At that time, my Dad was taken out of the home for sexual abuse, and in turn destroyed my sheltered and safe outlook on life. My mom, four siblings, and I were left to pick up the pieces of our family and put them back together. In that season, I found that writing, playing, and worshipping through came a place of healing and safety for me. Throughout my middle school and high school years, I would worship late into the night. Evenings were the time when I could be alone with the Lord, just Him and me. Looking back, I recognize that these times of solitude with the Father are what shaped, prepared, and grew me into closeness with the King. In high school I began to write both worship and secular pop songs. On the weekends I would play gigs at local coffee shops and help with worship at various churches. However, I had always aspired to record my secular music, and I was finally given the opportunity during my sophomore year of college. As I was preparing to record, an older friend of mine challenged my motives for recording secular music. He shared the importance of having a
purpose in the things we do as followers of Christ. During our conversation I felt the Lord asking me to give my songs to Him as well as my dream for having them recorded. He reminded me in Psalm 127:1 that “Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.” If I expected the Lord to bless my music, I also needed to let Him lead. Throughout this time the Lord had been solidifying my callings and giftings. The Lord encouraged me to take His calling on my life seriously—asking me to do everything with a purpose and reason because this privilege should not be taken lightly. I struggled during this season of life because I was unsure how to reach nonbelievers if I only focused on worship music. As I shuffled through these questions, I yearned to understand what it looked like to be both a musician and a Christian. One year later, I met with a friend to talk about recording some worship songs together. On the way home, however, I felt the Lord telling me to record my secular music instead. I was shocked at first and honestly didn’t believe it was the Lord speaking to me. When I sought the Lord further, His response was simple and gentle: I wanted to see if you would give it to me. He was testing my pride, my grip, and my obedience. Since that time, the Father has brought me into a season of musical preparation. I am crafting my trade by increasing my musical theory knowledge, voice training and instrumental ability. 1 Chronicles 25:6-7 describes the occurrence of trained and skilled musicians ministering in the house of the Lord. I am still in this season, but I truly believe that the Lord will open doors for me to fully utilizing my gifts in His timing.
AMERICA IS QUICKLY CHANGING FROM A NATION UNDER GOD TO A NATION UNDER NO ONE.
B Y VIVIANA EVETTE merica is quickly changing from a nation under God to a nation under no one. As changes in the United States have been a continuous occurrence and in many instances extremely necessary. How do we as Christians’ respond to these changes without changing ourselves? For the Lord’s word is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Hebrews 13:8) God’s word is never changing. Though laws and views adjust with the current times, we as Christ followers are not to waiver as America drifts further and further away from God. So with the changes that come from the desires of the men and women of this nation, we as Christians must hold near to our heart the desires of Jesus Christ so that we respond drawing people closer to the Lord and not further away. We must always walk in love, showing compassion to one another by being the light in this sinful world. Jesus was a beautiful example as He taught us how we should treat those who follow the ways of this world. He gladly ate dinner with tax collectors and those considered sinners. When asked by the Pharisees how He could do such an unthinkable act, Jesus as I imagine answering with the gentlest confidence that only God Himself could show, simply said in response, "It is not those who are healthy who need a physician, but those who are sick. " (Matthew 9:12) In this reply, Jesus was showing us how we too, are to respond to those around us that are in darkness. As Fourth of July approaches, I am reminded just how great a country we live in. As United States citizens we are blessed to have been born in truly the greatest Country in this world. Like all things of this world, America of course has its flaws. Still, the foundation that our country was built on was a grand one. As Americans we are free to live as we choose as stated in the Declaration of Independence, ‘with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. So while appreciating our great nation, we must remember to not falter in our stance against sin. No matter what laws are passed or what the current trend of the week is. We must remain the salt of this world. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone. (Colossians 4:6) Though a difficult task, as we study the Bible daily, pray and stay in love as the Lord commanded, we can help restore what has been lost. Remembering that in our freedom as Americans and responsibility as Christians we are to always look to God for strength and guidance. For you have been called to live in freedom, my brothers and sisters. But don't use your freedom to satisfy your sinful nature. Instead, use your freedom to serve one another in love. (Galatians 5:13)
BUFFALO, MN PHOTOGRAPHER
"HE WILL BE EXALTED WHETHER OR NOT MY LOGO IS TRENDY. HE WILL BE EXALTED BY MY CHOICE TO PUT HIM FIRST IN LIFE. I CAN REST IN KNOWING THAT HIS WILL FOR MY LIFE IS BIGGER THAN MY STRIVING"
hen I was four, I didn’t play in the kitchen for fun. Instead, I was the head of my own company called “The Chicken Shack” (Thank God my marketing skills have improved since then), and I would implore my mom to place orders from my restaurant. When I was ten, I started a dog-walking business. Sure, I only had one client, but I did only ask two neighbors. I had a beautiful flyer with a clip art dog on it, and an email address made just for my “clients.” I ended up walking one dog that year, but I successfully built a small brand for my ten-year-old self. Honestly, I did not notice this pattern until recently. Apparently, I’m wired this way. How fortunate I am that my gifts and pursuits allow me to continue my self-motivation from my Chicken Shack days, my affinity for designing flyers from my dog walking days, and now—my passion for artistry and storytelling in photography. Although it seems I have always been in on the hustle of staying current with my clients (my mom really needed chicken, I guess), lately I have been a little overwhelmed with the rapid changes of running a business. Normal habits for me in social media are now becoming obsolete as Facebook changes business requirements, Twitter continues to be a mystery, and I can’t seem to figure out the golden ratio of personal to business photos to post on Instagram. I met with my sister-in-law, friend, and fellow small-business owner recently and found that we had both been thinking over these changes. During the course of our conversation, we consoled ourselves with the truth that there are more important things in our lives than business. We are both businessinclined artists, but we also both recognize where our priorities lie. As I reflect on my thoughts from the past few months on this subject, I am reminded of the Lord’s call on me to be still. The verse is a familiar one—Psalm 46:10 in the NIV version says, “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Another translation says, “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” Whoa. “Cease striving.” But I’ll fall behind! I’ll become obsolete! People will forget my work! “I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” God’s promises hold true, that He will be exalted whether or not I book weddings this year. He will be exalted whether or not my logo is trendy. He will be exalted by my choice to put Him first in life. I can rest in knowing that His will for my life is bigger than my striving—and I am so thankful that I can find rest in that today.
photography by nina francine
Summer Is Thick B Y MIA JONES
S UMMER IS THICK WITH FUN AND FOOD AND LONG BIKE RIDES TO UNFAMILIAR TERRAINS THAT ARE BOUNDLESS. HEAT SO FULL YOU THROW UP YOUR HANDS AND SAY, “NO MORE,” BUT TAKE A FEW MORE RELENTLESS BITES. S UMMER IS THICK WITH INSECTS AND CREATURES CRAWLING AND FLYING AMID WATER DRENCHED ATMOSPHERES. S OMETIMES, MONSTERS COME OUT TO PLAY AND SIT AMONG THE [C HARLESTON] SAINTS , DRAWING BLOOD, STIRRING UP CHAOS, AND MORE REASONS TO DIG UP HOT, SUMMER S OIL FOR LOVED ONES TO CRY ON. FOR LOVED ONES TO QUESTION. S UMMER IS THICK WITH DELIRIUM, CAUSING QUESTIONS TO RISE LIKE HEAT WAVES IN UNDULATING PATTERNS OF MYSTERY— WHERE IS HATRED BORN? CAN LOVE CONQUER ALL? GOD, ARE YOU THERE? S UMMER IS THICK WITH CROWDS ATTEMPTING TO ANSWER. THROWING AND SHOUTING AND DEMOLISHING—IT WILL NOT WASH THE PAIN AWAY. S UMMER IS THICK, THICK WITH ENERGY. ELECTRIC CURRENTS OF ACCORD PING- PONGING OFF SWEAT-BEADED FOREHEADS AND WARM LIPS. WHO PULLS THE PLUG TO MAKE S ENSE OF IT ALL? TIRED HANDS-HOLDING, WEAK FROM PRAYER. S UMMER IS THICK. I’ LL WAIT FOR FALL.
model: dene roth makeup: trish nenes clothing: lolly pop vintage photography: angelic magazine location: downtown phoenix
JUSTIN CLEMONS EDITORIAL PHOTOGRAPHER // DALLAS, TX
"I KNOW SHE DOESN’T FULLY UNDERSTAND THIS MASSIVE LOVE I HAVE FOR HER, JUST LIKE THERE IS NO WAY THAT I WILL FULLY UNDERSTAND THE MASSIVE LOVE GOD HAS FOR ME."
Growing up in the Bible Belt, my understanding
of God’s love was formed by rules and how well I could follow them. In my early twenties, the idea that my intimacy with God was based solely on the church’s rules started to reveal its cracks. I wasn’t satisfied with the idea that feeling God’s love depended on how well I followed the rules that day. I believed that there had to be more. This new yearning started a journey into asking deep questions and seeking out real answers. For a year and a half, I asked God to reveal His love for me, because I wanted to know how He felt about me. One night, God answered my prayer in a powerful and real way. Words don't really allow me to fully describe what happened. I guess I would just say that I felt love like I had never felt it before. God spoke to my heart and not my head. He said, “I love you and I am fighting for you!” It sounds dumb, but I started arguing with him. I told Him that He couldn’t love me, that I have messed up too much and that I didn’t follow the rules well enough to deserve His love. I heard him telling me over and over again, despite my argumentation, “I love you, I’m fighting for you!” This started a whole new journey in our relationship. Fifteen years later and my relationship with God is drastically different. It is still based on His love for me, no matter what, no matter if I am perfect or a total screw up. Also, I now have a little girl of my own, and I am able to understand his love exponentially more. I love my daughter whether she has minded my rules or chosen to take her own path. I want her to follow my rules, because I want the best for her and to keep her safe, but if she messes up, I will always be there to hold her and tell her it’s going to be okay. My love for her never changes, if anything it grows deeper,
because I hate to see her hurting and I want to help her make choices that will limit her pain in life. Sometimes I sit her down, look deep into her eyes and tell her, “I love you so much.” She simply says, “I know daddy,” and keeps playing with her dolls. I know she doesn’t fully understand this massive love I have for her, just like there is no way that I will fully understand the massive love God has for me. Now I have my own business shooting editorial and commercial photography. I’ve been on my own shooting for almost 10 years now. It has taken a while to get to this place, but the hard work and dedication has been well worth it. God has taken me to some amazing places shooting some real interesting people. I have been able to shoot for some pretty influential publications like TIME, Forbes, and Wall Street Journal, among others. Before every shoot, my assistants and I stop and pray for the shoot. We pray for creativity, focus and the ability to get great shots for the client, but we also pray for opportunities to show God’s love to the people that we will meet. We strive to remain open to what God wants to do that day with the small amount of time that we have with these very influential people. In this industry, I am constantly faced with the opportunity to embrace people from many different social, cultural and political backgrounds. Remembering that God loves me no matter what helps me to create an environment of love and acceptance for the people that I am able to photograph. It also allows me to really see them and to capture the essence of who they are outside of who people know them to be. So, every day, my job allows me to remember what God showed me all those years ago, and for that I am truly grateful.
photography by justin clemons
ROMANS 8:31 "IF GOD IS FOR US,
WHO CAN BE AGAINST US?"
Jesus. Music. Fashion. www.ANGELICMAG.com