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DesperatioN Band makes God the Center of it All


Oral Roberts University’s worship center releases its latest album Come Like A Flood

FLAME Grammy-nominated hip hop artist spreading the fires of Christianity 1 CHORDS


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Sara Rozalina


wise person once told me that running away from your problems is a race you’ll never win. Because usually, at the same time you are running away from the one who is the center of all

your solutions. One of the best ways to face your problem is look at it with a positive mental attitude. Naturally, I like to run away from problems that I have unintentionally created. However, if one really analyzes the problems that do exist, most of them came because of the words that we spoke. Words have so much power in how we think and feel about ourselves and how others perceive us. To be honest with you, sometimes perception is more powerful than the truth, even if it is contrary to the truth. To help others understand you properly, you must be careful to create a perception that is actually true to who you are. The music artists in this magazine have become successful partially because they have created a perception that resonates positively with the fans. Learn from what they have done. In this issue of Chords (Summer 2012) it is our privilege to have Desperation Band as the cover story.


Inside Chords

Credits Editor-in-Chief: Sara Rozalina

6 FLAME: Following Jesus in the hip Byhop Saraworld Rozalina Krstevski 12 A Positive Mental Attitude 14 Desperation Band makes God the center of it all

Interviews: Jon Egan FLAME Daniel Tsobuta Brian Nhira

22 Brian Nhira igniting hope in a new generation 24 ORU Worship Center is reborn with latest release Come Like A Flood


Copy & Layout Editor: Sara Rozalina On The Cover: Desperation Band

21 Plant Your Dream

31 Rachel’s Blog | Let’s Talk The Catalyst of Change

Writers: Sara Rozalina David Krstevski Elizabeth Bovenzi Kristina Sue Irene Nolan Rachel Lamb

Photographers: Tim Selwanes David Bean Hillary Le Daystar Network Audrey Hannah Joshua Adams ORU Worship Center Advertisements Shining Light Ministries Wings of Freedom Chords Magazine Royal Tailor Daystar Britt Nicole



“I write out of my experiences, my personal con-

nection with God and how I process God through the Christian Bible. -FLAME


following Jesus in the hip hop world By Sara Rozalina




t’s late evening in the inner city of St. Louis, Missouri. Sixteen-year-old, Marcus Tyrone Gray begins to cross the street in his neighborhood. Walking with swagger and with caution the coast looks clear. A horn from behind him blasts with such loudness that he turns around to look. The eighteen-wheeler truck crushes his body aside sucking the life out of him. Marcus hears the sirens in the distance as he gives in to the nothingness of unconsciousness. Marcus Gray was dead. At least he thought his life was over. Marcus, who is the Grammy-nominated Christian hip hop artist Flame, was rushed to the hospital. “I had to do physical therapy for a year and a half,” Flame said. “I asked my grandmother why this was happening and she told me to follow God and get away from the wrong crowd.” “It’s always important for musicians to continue honing and perfecting their craft.” Growing up in the inner city of St. Louis, hip hop and rap was a predominant influence on Flame. His family pushed him to a Christian worldview. As a result he was torn between two worlds. But one day the light began to shine for Flame. “I was exposed to Christian rap and became a fan of the hip hop group Cross Movement. I went to a concert in Chicago, Illinois,” Flame said. “I got to meet them afterwards and was in awe of their performance. A couple of friends convinced me to give them a CD of mine. They listened to it and I built a relationship with them. I was signed to the record label in 2001.”


Since then, Flame has become a Dove and Grammy-nominated artist with six albums to his name, with his latest album released this year titled, “The 6th.” “In this album I’m talking about us the race of man because it was on the sixth day that God created man.” Flame’s goal in his music is to communicate with his fans what he learns from the scripture. “I write out of my experiences, my personal connection with God and how I process God through the Christian Bible,” Flame said. “It helps me articulate how I see the world and reality. It helps me understand how to communicate with people in ways that help them best understand life.” To further help in his understanding of people, Flame received his bachelor’s degree in biblical counseling and applied theology from Boyce College. “I was in Louisville, Kentucky for school for five years. I have an interest in people and how we tick so I wanted to help in that area and be a counselor for people from a Christian worldview,” Flame said. “This was a way for me to be in the community and the industry. It has helped me be an extension of Christ in helping individuals and families through the local church.” Flame also has a desire to help fellow artists get their music out there. As a result Flame started his own record label. “I started Clear Sight Music because there are so many artists that don’t have the financial backing or platform to take what they were doing so well to the next level,” Flame said. “My wife and I started the label so we could serve other artists. It’s doing really well so far. We’re two years in the game and we’ve put out songs that have reached No. 1 on iTunes. So far we have signed two artists V. Rose a pop artist and Young Noah a rapper

“I asked my grandmother

why this was happening and she told me to follow God and get away from the wrong crowd.” -FLAME


“Remember that your words and

lyrics have consequences. One day we will stand before God about what we’ve written in our songs.”


from Atlanta.” Being a veteran in the music field, some of Flame’s favorite diverse collaborations include: Surrender with V.Rose, Joyful Noise with Lecrae and Let Go with DecembeRadio. “It’s always important for musicians to continue honing and perfecting their craft,” Flame said. Along with his wife, Flame loves to sponsor children with the organization Compassion. “There is a child in Nairobi, Kenya that we help and it was nice to meet the child in person.” Even with all the work they do, Flame and his wife do have some free time to hang out with just each other. “My wife and I like to go to the movies, go miniature golfing, and go international traveling,” Flame said. “We CHORDS 10

love to throw ourselves in a country where we don’t know the language and have to try to figure things out.” Flame wanted to make sure to let aspiring musicians know this valuable piece of information. “Make sure you learn the music industry and the business industry. Everything is based on negotiation,” Flame said. “Many artists enter into a contract and didn’t know they had options. Sometimes artists didn’t get compensated for their work and this can break the spirit of the artist and make them sad. Remember that your words and lyrics have consequences. One day we will stand before God about what we’ve written in our songs.” ∆

Shining Light Ministries

A light for the dark spots in our world...

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uccess. People define success by different means and measurements according to their dreams and aspirations in life. Everyone wants to succeed and there are many obstacles that get in one’s way and end up delaying the individual for a while. But there is one obstacle that will utterly defeat all of us if we do not keep it in check. This obstacle is called “self.” You are your success and failure; it is you who determines your personal outcome. I had a professor once tell me “If you think you’re a loser, you’ll end up doing loser things.” This is a powerful statement because the ultimate key to success is ones thoughts. You are the only one who can choose what kinds of thoughts fill up your mind, so make sure they are filled with positive thoughts 24/7. “I had a professor once tell me... If you think you’re a loser, you’ll end up doing loser things.” For example an athlete competing in a sport needs to believe in his or her self if they are going to be an asset for their team. In the exact same way, a small aspiring business owner needs to believe that they are going to do well and make something big out of the little seed that they have just started to nourish. If you’re reading this right now you know where I am going with these statements. Everyone needs to have a PMA and that is an acronym for a Positive Mental Attitude. Napoleon Hill who was one of the world’s most influential leaders on this topic once CHORDS 12

stated that “A positive mental attitude is the fixed purpose to make every experience, whether it is pleasant or unpleasant, yield some form of benefit which will help us to balance our lives with all the things which lead to peace of mind.” Now you may be sitting at your desk and saying “Well Dave, what you say is good, but it’s easy for you to make these statements because you don’t know what I am going through; and where I’ve come from.” Now before you pick up that phone and call in the DJ for your in-house pity party, let’s take a look at what the Bible, God’s Word for you, has to say. In Philippians 4:13 we read, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” If you go on into Habakkuk 3:19 you will see that “…the lord is your strength…” You may be thinking, what does this all mean? It means that the Lord God, the one who has the power to create the entire universe, and the one that gives you your breath, resides on the inside of you. That blessing, that power, that success, that prosperity already resides in you! To apply this to your situation all you need to do is BELIEVE it and it will be unto you. Staying focused on your goals. Looking for the best in any situation will help you to maintain this positive mental attitude. This is extremely important because a mental attitude is a two-way door on ones path in life which can be turned one way into success and can also be pushed into the other direction of failure. The unfortunate thing is that the majority of people decide to swing their door wide open into the wrong direction. So be equipped to succeed and you will always win. ∆

A Positive Mental Attitude By David Krstevski


“Worship is a response – all that we are, responding to all that God is.” -Jon Egan (Band Leader)


makes God the By Elizabeth Bovenzi



Center of it All 15CHORDS

Nico Perez


t takes a certain level of humility to stand back and let God have the floor. Often the pulpit becomes a place for leaders to show off, instead of a place for the Lord’s Spirit to show up. In the midst of a generation that is consumed with appearances and flighty comfort, there is one team of worship leaders that has stepped out and followed the commitment to continue the appointment of its ministry. Enter, Desperation Band. Led by Jon Egan, this group from New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado has had eleven years of basking in the glory of the Lord while helping others usher into His presence. Now on CHORDS 16

Dan Egan

Matt Pacco

their eighth album entitled, “Center of it All,” it is clear where their priorities and focus lie. Throughout this time together, their heart has remained in their foundation. “We have always been based out of New Life Church and the Desperation Conference is the core of who we are. Fast-forward eleven years; many songs written, albums recorded, continuous traveling around the world, and we’re still doing the same work, just older,” Egan shared. I had the opportunity to chat with Mr. Egan for a few minutes this past spring, and I was astonished by the authentication of what he and the guys preach. It is evident that he

Jon Egan

Regan Cruz

finds himself humble in light of God’s woven tapestry. “Worship is a response – all that we are, responding to all that God is. It’s a corrective. We get our eyes off our self and onto Him. It’s a decision. It’s a choice to fix your eyes on something greater,” Egan said. “I’m just a steward. Just setting a table for people to take in the Lord and breathe Him out to the world.” The vision and mission of Desperation band all started out in a very unlikely way. “Just about eleven years ago, I showed up at New Life Church to work as the youth worship pastor. Shortly after I arrived, one of

Jared Henderson

the youth pastors, David Perkins, started to develop the idea of the Desperation Conference. The thought was if we could get young people praying and fasting, a life of desperate pursuit of God would follow,” Egan said. “With his lead, we launched the Conference with about 800 young people from around the country. A few of the boys from around the church and I came together to simply lead worship for the event. Nothing less. Nothing more. We wrote some original songs to support what God was doing. A friend of ours recorded the event and the rest is history.” Evidence can be brought in numbers to support that Desperation Band has grown


“Most of us grew up in church playing music. Standing on the shoulders of those who went before us, we have benefited from the culture we’ve been given. A culture of musical excellence, rooted in sound doctrine, serving the local church” -Jon Egan (Band Leader)

in leaps and bounds since its original goal in touching the lives of young people around the country. There is rhetoric on either side that questions whether musical training and education is important to be a success in this field. “Most of us grew up in church playing music. Standing on the shoulders of those who went before us, we have benefited from the culture we’ve been given. A culture of musical excellence, rooted in sound doctrine, serving the local church,” Egan said. “Some of the boys went through schools of worship, which we offer at our church, and others of us have completed our bachelor degrees elsewhere. But all of us have given our lives to steward our musical craft. As important as training is, we have found no greater field to grow than within the church. We would highly recommend training and music education- but not at the expense of learning about people. We are pastors first, then musicians. Our music exists to serve and pastor others.” Desperation band is a combination of three things. Firstly, they are lyrical poets that work on drawing believers into a deeper relationship with the Father. Secondly, the band is a prophetic device to proclaim the truth in His Word. Finally, the worship team is a beacon for the less fortunate, exhorting others to their cry. Egan admitted, “We believe that as we stay true to these things, freedom will ignite in others.” Eleven revolutions around the sun later, the troupe of men based out of New Life CHORDS 18

Church have stayed faithful to the call of the anointing that was placed on their lives. Very clearly do the heart, hope and humility shine through the verses in each song that is offered as a sacrifice to the Almighty. “As a church, we’ve walked through some very tough things. Suffering has a strange way of clearing things up.” As advice to aspiring musicians, they encourage that God wishes to use you for who he made you to be, “not you being a second rate version of someone else. It is spiritually imperative that you stay true to who you are,” Egan clarified. Now having finished the eighth album in their discography, Desperation band glances back at the first recording experience. Though their mission has not changed, each of the individuals has grown during this process, including in strength as a unit. “As a church, we’ve walked through some very tough things. Suffering has a strange way of clearing things up. What is this all for? What is our role in it? When you’re in the trenches with your brothers and sisters, you just know,” Egan said. “You become more comfortable in your own skin… We spend more time with the Father now. We spend more time praying. Mostly, we’ve fallen more in love with God.” ∆

“We spend more time with the Father now. We spend more time praying. Mostly, we’ve fallen more in love with God.” -Jon Egan


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Plant Your Dream By Kristina Sue


t’s not the nature of the plant that hinders its plant life. Often times it is the shelter or lack of “life giving light” that makes one shrivel into a mass of dead ambition. In this way one can begin to realize that plants can often depict the fragile state of “human willingness.” Aggie Horticulture states that an Annual (wildflower) are, “plants that perform their entire life cycle from seed to flower to seed within a single growing season. All roots, stems and leaves of the plant die annually. Only the dormant seed bridges the gap between one generation and the next.” In this way one begins to appreciate personal times of dormancy in one’s life. Some people may start with a dream. One in which many people would frown upon or belittle. After a season of unfruitfulness and dormancy one begins to view a brighter day. One merely needs to realize that life in its most fragile state can be resurrected. All it takes is a fruitful place to place your seed (dream) and the willingness to keep overcoming. One will see a brighter day. A time will come when the winter is over. Take for example becoming a musician. One needs to find the right location in which ones dream can be implemented and enough

sunshine (positive atmosphere) to flourish. In this way the aspiring musician may not be a superstar until the seed reaches a point of progress. The seed is real and completely capable of growing a plant to the entire dormant state. However, if ones seed is never implemented into the ground the seed can never grow. To reach ones highest potential one has to implement ones seed. Trying makes all the difference. ∆


Brian Nhira igniting hope in a new generation By Sara Rozalina



rian Nhira starts walking at a quicker pace entering the GC building at Oral Roberts University. He can’t be late for class. Opening the glass doors several people pass by and stop him to rave about how his singing in chapel is so amazing. The thought of saying thank you and quickly rushing to his destination seems like a really good idea. But hold up. Brian turns to the small crowd with a big smile and greets them with a hearty response sharing what God has done in his music. Taking every opportunity to share God’s love with others is something Brian will always do. Juggling the release of his debut EP Hope and going to school, Brian’s hard work is evident. “ ...As I stay connected to God and His Spirit, He will place songs in my heart...”

“This is my very first project and I believe that every single song in Hope is so Godbreathed and the vision was so given by God,” Nhira said. “It’s hard for me to take credit for all of this. I truly thank God for His direction and guidance.” Brian Nhira’s start in the music world started at a very young age. “My parents started traveling in ministry when I was two years old and when I turned four they stuck me on stage one service and told me to sing Jesus Loves Me,” Nhira said. “That was the beginning of it all. When I entered high school, I really started to realize that this was my passion and my purpose.”

As an independent artist, Brian has come up with two main avenues to promote his music. “The first is live performances. I am really blessed with many cool opportunities to sing at various gatherings and events. The second avenue is social media and my website,” Nhira said. “At this point in my career, I am content with being an independent artist, but I do believe their will come a point in time where signing with a major label will be necessary. Ultimately, I’m leaving it in the Lord’s hands and I believe I will be successful either way.” Leaving it to the Lord is exactly what he is doing. Brian believes that staying connected to the Creator is what will make his music relevant to mainstream society. “I learned that as I stay connected to God and His Spirit, He will place songs in my heart that are so unique, fresh, relevant and that completely glorify Him,” Nhira shared. Brian had the opportunity to be trained by some of the best vocal teachers in the nation; including Larry Downey, Shari Townes and Jessi Graves. “I would definitely consider my voice my main instrument. I started when I was a sophomore in high school,” Nhira said. “When I first started taking vocal lessons they were classical lessons, which I believe was the best training I could have ever received.” Brian Nhira believes that every aspiring musician should follow his motto. “Hebrews 10:23. Hold unswervingly to the hope and promises of God,” Nhira said. “If He has placed a dream in your heart and called you to do the work, He will be absolutely faithful to complete it.” ∆ 23CHORDS

“We are a united community and we see time and time again how songs written by one person can represent the hearts of thousands of students.� -Daniel Tsubota


is reborn with latest release Come Like a Flood By Irene Nolan


Jonathan Swindal


tudents from all over the world pack into the Oral Roberts University Mabee Center for an event that hasn’t happened in five years. The stage is set. The musicians are ready. In the large arena the people hold their breath… waiting for a spectacular night of worship. The ORU Worship Center team is ready. The crowd cheers and the live album recording begins. The ORU Worship Center is greatly known throughout the community and the college campus, so it comes as no surprise to find the arena completely jam packed. Ask any student and they’ll either know someone who is a part of the Worship Center, or be in it themselves. Although the popular topic is the release of the worship center’s live album, their mission is beyond that. CHORDS 26

“The mission of the department is to establish worship corporately at the campus of ORU and within each individual person,” says Daniel Tsubota, the assistant director of ORU Worship Center. “It’s important to remember that we are a center of people. We are people-powered. We are not an entity; we are a group of very real people unified under a common goal.” The ORU Worship Center hasn’t always been the ORU Worship center that students know today. The worship center has undergone big branding changes. “In the past decade, what we now call ORU Worship Center, it has had five different names, just as many leadership changes, countless programs, and names for those programs, too. Our mission in this branding project was to put all of our efforts into what we do well; original music, live worship, foreign missions and practical training,” Tsubota said. “The benefit of course is not in the programs themselves, but in the people that are affected; not just those ministered to but also the leaders we are raising up to change the world. The people are our end result.” The ORU Worship Center is led by a talented staff of world-changing leaders and they are taking their worship team to new heights. “We are people-powered. We are not an entity; we are a group of very real people unified under a common goal.”

“As director, Jonathan Swindal casts the vision and leads the department in our goals and objectives. As assistant director, I do what it entails to make that vision and planning happen,” Tsubota said. “Anyone can audition and I love seeing students go from

COME LIKE A FLOOD AVAILABLE ONLINE NOW! timid first-time applicants to bold leaders by the end of their college career. That’s the most important thing, the leaders we raise up to change the world and the lives that are impacted as a result.” Many different groups make up the Worship Center ranging from ORU LIVE, Campus Worship, Music to the Nations and Souls A’Fire. As a whole, students have compared the worship center to the likes of Hillsong

and Jesus Culture. However, the worship team has a unique style of worship. “While we do love our friends at Hillsong, Bethel and everywhere else, there’s one style that we seek for all of our music – our style. Sure, the songwriters are influenced by their favorite artists and you’ll hear a lot of flavors, but we are no emulation of anyone else,” Tsubota said. “We have a legacy of songwriting with artists such as Darrell Evans, Kari



Jobe, Desperation Band, Michael Gungor, and so many more coming from ORU.” Being people-powered and God-powered lead to the worship center’s effectiveness. “I believe that one of the most important reasons that our music ministry is so effective is that our programs and songs are from the students for this generation. Worship and being in God’s presence have shown us that it’s all about His love for us,” Tsubota said. “We are this generation and there’s something extremely effective about that.” With hard work comes a blessing in the form of their latest live recording album, Come Like a Flood. “It’s been three years since our last album and five years since the last live album. Come Like a Flood is a huge leap forward for us and the experience of seeing original songs go from notebooks to now fully mastered tracks has been surreal, humbling, and inspiring,” “It’s been three years since our last album and five years since the last live album.” Tsubota said. “We worked with an incredible producer, Brad Nyght, who helped guide us in taking the songs to their fullest potential. We were free to focus on the energy and atmosphere of worship that is so evident in the record. I believe that God honored the time we put into preparation as worship and met us in a powerful way.” Many of the songs on the new album reflect a strong message for the ORU community. “If you’ve kept up with ORU in the news, you know that we’ve had some heartbreaking times with the loss of several students and staff in tragic accidents and terrible murders,” Tsubota said. “One of the songs called

Daniel Tsubota

“Your Answer (In The Name),” says there is healing, freedom, and power in the name of Jesus. I’ve seen how this song has personally comforted, strengthened and empowered our community in the times of hardship and I believe it’s an anthem for this season.” There is power is songwriting when God’s hand is at work. “We are a united community and we see time and time again how songs written by one person can represent the hearts of thousands of students. One of our graduates, A’Leithia Sweeting, put it this way, ‘Now I sing, for You gave me a song to sing,’” Tsubota said. “I believe that’s the core idea behind songwriting. It’s this incredibly inexplicable combination of the Spirit speaking through us, and us speaking to God and Him responding to us. Simply powerful.” ∆



The Catalyst of Change By Rachel Lamb


illions swear by it and even more can only hope to find it someday. More songs have been written about it, many books have tried to describe it, and reality shows have been built around it – a verb that has become so elusive that believing in it takes only the strongest of people. It breaks down and builds up the very fabric of humanity. Love, the most special experience we are only so lucky to encounter, seems so far away these days. We live in a world where we care more about how we can make our own self happy more than anyone else. Everyday people go hungry, people feel alone, people are abused, and people are betrayed. So when did the one thing that is free to give become so pricey? While it has been tarnished by our own greed, it is the only thing that has the power to change people’s lives. Even the most hopeless situations are no match to its ability to bring things around. I truly believe we all have a duty to practice love. It’s not about figuring out whether someone deserves it or not, because we were first loved – even though we were not worthy. Sometimes we get confused on our roles,

and instead find ourselves passing judgments on others. However, we have no authority because there is only one capable of striking the court mallet. We are only to love just as we too have been loved, and when we do the world can’t stay the same anymore. ∆ 31CHORDS

Give somebody



Desperation Band | Summer 2012 | Chords Magazine  

Summer 2012 issue of Chords Magazine. Featuring Desperation Band, FLAME, Brian Nhira, ORU Worship Center, and more!